As you can probably tell, I've been in a nostalgic 80's mood lately reflecting on some of my favourite bands that made a significant impact during the decade. You can also guess I was greatly affected by the Minneapolis music scene as I followed many of those bands before they became mainstream. My taste in music during the 80's was also focused on American "alternative rock" bands that topped campus radio station charts with other regional pockets of music scenes such as Athens, Georgia (REM), Boston/Mass area (Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, Blake Babies, Volcano Suns) and LA (Paisley Underground- Long Ryders, Dream Syndicate, Green On Red). It also produced quirky bands like, They Might Be Giants and Camper Van Beethoven.
Camper Van Beethoven formed in 1983 and played an eclectic mix of pop, ska, punk, folk and alternative country. Their unique sound set them apart from other alt-rock bands with their experimentation and boasting their influences of Eastern European, psychedelia, Middle Eastern and South Asian, actually there wasn't many styles the band didn't attempt. They enjoyed an underground following until they signed to a major label in 1987, when they enjoyed some modest commercial success resulting in increased record sales and MTV exposure. Their sound became a little more mainstream and streamlined and their studio recordings became much more produced sounding. They broke up in the spring of 1990 after a show, which was very unfortunate because they were booked to play the Winnipeg Folk Festival that summer and I was revolving my festival plans around seeing CVB. They have since reformed (2002) and they did finally make it to the WFF, but for whatever reason at the time I didn't attend...too bad!
I remember reading an article about Camper Van sometime in the 80's and it stated that they were one of the best bands to see live. They have an incredibly devise catalog of great songs and mixed with the fact these guys are amazing musicians, they definitely would be a treat to see in concert (eventually I will!). Nowadays they put on marathon-length shows often performing on a bill with Cracker (David Lowery's other band), so you truly get the whole Camper Van experience.
The show I'm posting is from the legendary CBGB's in New York City, as the band was touring in support of their second album, II & III. They also perform a couple songs from their next album, the self-titled third album that was released later in 1986. This is a great set of music (short by their standards), the sound is good and the performance is drunken and fun and besides, it's at CBGB's!! A must listen for Camper Van fans!
01. Abundance 02. (I Was So) Wasted 03. banter - Turtlehead 04. More Than A Feeling tease - I Love Her All The Time 05. ZZ Top Goes To Egypt 06. The History Of Utah 07. Skinhead Stomp 08. Vampire Club 09. Cowboys From Hollywood 10. Form Another Stone 11. Club Med Sucks 12. Down And Out 13. (We're A) Bad Trip 14. Interstellar Overdrive 15. Take The Skinheads Bowling