If you follow us and see our updates regularly, you will know that Galaxy Camp Festival was a pretty BIG deal for us at Crowdsurf. We have a review of each band who performed on the day, as well as own opinions on the festival as a whole. Alongside, we have exclusive photos for you guys to see of all the bands who played.
For an overview for those who maybe aren’t familiar with the festival and the line up, here is the poster:
Initially, Real Friends were on the bill, however they pulled out due to personal circumstances. Replacing them was WSTR, and this boosted Knuckle Puck up to the slot where RF once were.
Overall view (Emily)
I can’t lie, I was feeling slightly cynical when I walked into the venue, mainly because there was no pit barrier; meaning my £1300 camera set up was more more than likely getting kicked out of my hands at some point. Besides this, I absolutely loved the venue, and it had a certain feel to it that made me feel like I was at some dingy basement show (I am not sure if that comes across as a good thing, but it was good in my eyes). The said venue was Essigfabrik in Cologne, and if I never visit there again, I will be VERY disappointed.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to cover this festival was due to the line up, as well as it being the first time the festival had ran.
I think also German crowds not giving a shit about how they act at shows is what made it so special for me. And, I swear I saw a guy get up on stage and two step away to himself during Knuckle Puck’s set. As well as this generally laid back approach demonstrated from the crowd, I got to see the most bitter sweet thing; that being my twin sister making an absolute fool out of herself, using the excuse ‘I am on my holidays’. Less of an overview, onto the actual bands who performed!!
The first band who opened the entire bill was Australian Alt Rock band Stand Atlantic. As this was our first time watching a show in Germany, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of the crowd and their reaction to the bands who were playing in front of them. Hand on heart, from the moment Stand Atlantic got up on stage, to when State Champs closed their set, the crowd was INSANE. I have personally never listened to Stand Atlantic before, so this was the first time I had ever seen what they looked like, as well as learning how they sound when they play as a band. Their crowd interaction was spot on, and I definitely think they are going to work their way up in the music world. I also have a soft spot for Australian’s, and when I heard their accents, I liked them that little bit more. It was also refreshing to see a female fronted band on the lineup. You know, I’m all for gender equality, and hats off to Galaxy Camp for having them on the bill.
Another band here who I hadn’t listened to prior the festival, but I knew who they were due to me liking the band’s name. The crowd had also started to pick up a lot more, as well as the atmosphere; and ultimately the alcohol. Overall, I really enjoyed their set, and I think they did a good job ensuring that the crowd were paying attention to them for the duration of their set.
After seeing a band play in Key Club, you clearly have big expectations for the next time you see them play; well I did anyway. They definitely outdone themselves at GC, and I was very happy that I got to see them live once again. Don’t get me wrong, I know a couple songs, but I wouldn’t say that I was a Broadside fan. This is one of the main reasons I like going to shows, because you can watch talented bands who you may not have listened to, but still dig the sound. The highlight of their set for me was when they played ‘Laps Around a Picture Frame’, and Ollie did like a little intro thing. This could be me being completely oblivious to something that he does all the time before this track when it’s played live, but I still dug it none the less.
I feel like I have worked security at a show these guys were playing at, but I am not 100% sure. Like all of the bands on the day, Can’t Swim delivered in terms of their performance, and you could clearly see that they all enjoy what they do, as well as that they all had fun whilst they played for me and the crowd that stood before them. That’s all I can really say about the set, as I don’t really know all too much about them to constructively rate the set. They sounded good to me, and that was enough to tick all of the boxes.
The WSTR lads pulled it out the bag for me, and for that reason, they’re the one band who blew my expectations on the day out of the full bill. I’ve seen them play only once before, and that day was a blur to say the least. They also played a new track, and the crowd responded VERY well to it. I think it was called Bad to the Bone, and it is an absolute banger from what I can remember. I can’t speak for the solidness of the set list, as I do not consider myself a WSTR fan, however my sister said it was smashing and well mixed, and she often listens to their music; so I will take that as a good thing. I know though they didn’t play Graveyard Shift, which in my eyes was an easy way out, due to pretty much everyone at least knowing that the title of the track associated with the band and that really cool OG t-shirt with the skeleton on (you know EXACTLY which one I mean).
On another note, the bassist was playing that solid riff from I Wanna Be Adored by the Stone Roses as a warm up, and for me that just defined the British music scene in about ten seconds worth of sound.
The standards of the performances all day were on point, and Trash Boat were no exception. I wouldn’t say that I am a personal fan of the band, however you can’t deny that they always put on one hell of a show. I also feel like the whole Galaxy Camp line wouldn’t feel complete if Trash Boat were not on the bill, and that is all I can really say about it. Even if you do not consider yourself to be a fan of Trash Boat, you can’t deny that there is some serious talent when they all club together and do their thing.
The crowd had shown all day that getting up onto the stage and diving into the crowd wasn’t an issue, but it was during Knuckle Puck that this was slightly different. Ollie Baxxter from Broadside encouraged people jumped up on stage, had a good time and enjoyed themselves. But, when I was talking to Joe (front man of Knuckle Puck) before their set, he told me how he wanted fans to have fun, but not stay on the stage for long periods of time. I felt like this was a good approach to have, because there were people getting up on stage and staying up there for quite a while, and you could see band members getting annoyed, as well as fans in the audience. As a precaution, there was a crew member on stage making sure nobody from the audience prolonged their stay during KP’s set, and I was all for this.
I’ve seen Knuckle Puck play eight times now, and I didn’t think they could top the best time I saw them, but hell, I was seriously wrong. In terms of the set list, I felt it was a good mix of tracks from their entire discography, even if I would have personally liked more from their older EP’s Don’t Come Home and The Weight that you Buried. Bands have crowds to please, and more people are more familiar with their newer material, so a justifiable mix of songs. Opening up with Distain I feel is always a good shout, and it just cranks up the mood right from the get go. As someone who has been a fan for as long as I can remember, I would like a slightly different set list sometimes, but I totally stand by the fact not everybody over thinks small things like tracks on a set list.
My favourite track from Shapeshifter was all I wanted to hear live, and the gods were looking down on me that day, because they played ‘Everyone Lies to Me’, and it was biblical. Joe (like the majority of the American bands I have seen live) often expresses how not down he is with their country’s current leader, Donald Trump, and this set was no different! I can’t blame him for wanting to vent, after all, I do feel responsible for the bad choices Britain as a whole makes, and if I were the lead of a Pop Punk band, I would more than likely bad mouth British politics.
I hold my hands up to this call, and I’m going to say that they were the band of the day (very biased I’m sorry), and they’re one of the few bands I will probably never get bored of watching live. Also getting to chat to the lads before their set was a lucky tradition that I haven’t seem to have broken just yet. We all spoke about the new album, the difference between the UK and USA healthcare, how Joe did the layout on the first Homesafe EP art work, and various other things. I am definitely looking forward to seeing them again at Slamdunk, and if you somehow haven’t listened to Knuckle Puck; GET ON IT.
And finally, the band closing the bill, and ultimately headlining the festival was New York Pop Punk band State Champs.
The last time I saw State Champs play I think was Pop Punk’s Not Dead the year it came to the UK, and I haven’t really followed the band since The Finer Things was new out. This is why I was looking forward to seeing them play, because I didn’t have a clue what the set list was going to sound or be like.
As they were the final band on, it had gotten to the point where the front row were ecstatic, and everyone else seemed just too chill to care what happened; and this was reflected through the state the crowd was in. It wasn’t a bad thing, just I think everyone gets a bit ratty when it has been a long, loud and sweaty day. Others had also waited til now to make their stage diving debut, and it felt like five people were going up every ten seconds. I hold my hands up, I struggled to shoot them, but I wanted to stick around so I could provide coverage, as well as support the festival as a whole.
The highlight of the set for me was the third song in when they played ‘Simple Existence’, as this was their first song that I heard all those years ago. My inner 17 year old was out, and I was loving every minute of it. The rest of the set just kind of went along nicely, and it was a steady end to an amazing time experiencing a new venue, culture and festival.
To sum up this review, I have to say that I was VERY impressed with the festival and my trip to Cologne. I am hoping and praying it becomes a regular occurrence, and if it does, I’ll be packing my things and heading out again next year. I would like to take the time to congratulate all those responsible for the organisation of such a great festival, and also thank them for their kindness with regards to welcoming us from the UK to cover the event for fans outside of Germany.