Saturday, February 17, 2007

Soft, Soft, Loud

Camera Obscura, Richards on Richards, 13 Feb 2007
Photo by The Get Up Kid
Dearest Friends, last Tuesday I popped down to Richards on Richards to see the lovely Camera Obscura on the last Canadian date of their gruelling world tour. They kicked off in the Yoo Ess of Aaay back in mid-January, and are now on their way to wend round Australia and New Zealand. After that, it's a fortnight break, then back to the UK and continental Europe for another month solid of dates.

With all that touring, it's probably no surprise that they all seemed a bit, well, tired. As in fatigued, mind you, not old or stale. Yes, yes, I know they're not the most rawkous, turn-it-up-to-eleven band at the best of times, but it did seem like they could have used a nice bath, a hot cuppa, and an early night. Sigh, I hope they are looking after themselves.

Still, despite all of that and a pretty sloppy sound system, they were charming. The set, mostly songs off of Let's Get Out Of This Country with a few gems from the back catalogue, didn't vary much from the last time they were in town some seven months ago. But it was delivered so dreamtastically that I was delighted to hear it again. When the first organ notes of "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" floated up towards the heavens, those wee hairs on the back of my neck stood up. And this time round, "Country Mile" wasn't spoiled by loudmouth wankers jabbering away up front.

You know, of course, that in the end my heart belongs to Dear, Dear Traceyanne. Though she dresses in schoolmarm chic and comes over all dour and wry, there is something so terribly vulnerable and confessional in her singing that it makes me want to give her a great, big hug. Sigh again.

Camera Obscura - I Love My Jean (buy here )
One of those back-catalogue gems I mentioned. But if you don't have Let's Get Out Of This Country, shame on you! Buy it now here or e-here. Otherwise else I'll get cross.

Opening for Camera Obscura was Portastatic, or rather I should say half of Portastatic, as it was only Mac on vocals and guitar, accompanied by Margaret on violin. I must say that I had theretofore not paid much attention to this band, fronted by the aforementioned Mac, ex of Superchunk. But the duo pumped out some righteous indie folkie sounds, including a fine, heartrending cover of Prefab Sprout's "When Love Breaks Down". I remembered that song as I walked the block back to my car after the show. It was a few minutes into Valentine's Day, and standing on the corner were seven hookers, awaiting business. Somehow it struck me as very, very sad.

Portastatic - You Blanks (buy here or e-here)

Dearest Friends, I have a confession to make. Much as I enjoyed the loveliness of Camera Obscura and was pleased to make Portastatic's acquaintance, I'm desperately feeling the need to rock hard and loud. Yes, I want to go to a gig and come out sweaty, with ears ringing, and possibly a bruise or two. But alas, there is nothing on the horizon that fits the bill. Sigh yet again...

But while I'm waiting, I have We Are THE PHYSICS to keep me company. I discovered these Glaswegian yoofs (does ALL the best music come from Scotland? Methinks it does.) on the gronktastic 20 Jazz Funk Greats blog (memo to self: must add to blogroll). Their single "Less Than Three" is all jerky, angular, garagey, shouty, riffy goodness that runs around your living room, scares the dog, and knocks over the lamp.

We Are THE PHYSICS - Less Than Three (buy here)
And you can see Michael, Michael, Michael, and Chris in speccy, skinny tie action right below!


mjrc said...

did your dear wife enjoy the show? i remember you mentioning that camera obscura was one band that you both could get into. i hope she did. : )

T&F@tlh said...

Hmmm so do I, given your comments about the young lady of the band. Tut Tut FiL just what would Dearest Wifey say??

Actually I can hear exactly what she would say!


PS - I had supper with newly engaged D&S and we are making plans for your visit.
PPS Baby T was christened today in a noisy 4-way christening!

Just a Girl said...

Never having seen them before I thought it was a very good show and that they were just getting a feel for the room at the beginning.

That Tracyanne is darling.

Rachel said...

I am sure I have mentioned to you before that every time Camera Obscura shuffles onto the pod or I come across something of theirs on the web I always think of you.

And what an awesome show review dear FiL...I think you hit it dead on with this...
"You know, of course, that in the end my heart belongs to Dear, Dear Traceyanne. Though she dresses in schoolmarm chic and comes over all dour and wry, there is something so terribly vulnerable and confessional in her singing that it makes me want to give her a great, big hug. Sigh again."

I love Portastic too and I have been beginning to wonder if all great music does come from Scotland (Colin wouldn't you agree?)...We are the Physics are just one more band to add to this list!

And you know I have been itching to rock out too...Take some good old punk aggression out by dancing like a mad person to the appropriate music...But I am so rock handicapped as you very well know so I will follow your lead. ;-)

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

The We Are the Physics video is a hoot! When are skinny ties making a come-back, dammit? I've still got a box-full in the basement.

..."runs around your living room, scares the dog, and knocks over the lamp"

When are you going to move that damn lamp so it doesn't get knocked over so easily?

Colin said...

Great review Fil.

She is wonderful :)

Er, well, I have to agree really - a lot of good (no, great) music does come from Scotland - especially Glasgow.

But that's because of all the rain on this west side of the coast - creative folks just stay in and practice all the time :)

On this note, can I recommend Gdansk to you all (google as Gdansk + music + glasgow) or see the url list at my place entitled 'New Scottish Pop!). They come from Glasgow as well and are actually students at my University! (all 2nd yrs apart from the drummer who is sitting his Highers - he's just 16!)

Gdansk are the next Interpol only a lot better. I am not joking.

(at their myspace page check out the song 'The Auteur'...)

I'm hopefully getting a copy of their debut EP soon and then I'll be doing a write-up on them.


OHara said...

Yes, I want to go to a gig and come out sweaty, with ears ringing, and possibly a bruise or two
Sure there is
Alexisonfire are touring soon.

bryce said...

The sweet September rain!

A. B. Chairiet said...

"I'm desperately feeling the need to rock hard and loud."

I hear Ozzfest is free this year. ;)


Glad you enjoyed the concert. :)

Happy Thursday!
~ Ash

Colleen said...

i love camera obscura. i really do.

BUT i have seen them TWICE now & have been bored shitless both times. & it's NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE BAD LIVE OR ANYTHING (in fact, they were spot on) but they aren't the kind of band that you really need to see live, ya know?

or maybe i just prefer to see live music with more UMMPH.

i still love the hell out of them though.

FiL said...

Dearest Marcy, my Dearest Wife did not accompany me. Why? Well, after seeing them in May se emerged with an opinion very similar to that of Dearest Colleen, expressed below. She also didn't want the hassle of having to worry about getting home in time for a babysitter...

Dearest T: I'm looking forward to my fleeting visit! And Dearest Wife knows of my fondness for Traceyanne.

Hi Girl! Thanks for stopping by. Indeed, perhaps you're right - it's easy to impart false motivations from the audience. That said, at The Plaza last summer they just clicked right into it. Maybe Richards is a more challenging space.

Dearest Rachel! Thank you, I remain flattered. But I think you underestimate your rockoutability... :)

Dearest Mentok: Pretty good, isn't it? I daresay skinny ties seem to be back. As for the lamp, feel free to reposition it next time you dream on over our way.

Dearest Colin: Thanks (or Gthanks?) for the Gdansk tip. I look forward to your ree-vooo! So, logic test of the moment: Gdansk is to Interpol what Danzig is to...??

Dear Ohara: Sucks, just missed them - they were in Vancouver on the 19th, but I was off at a business dinner. At least the food was good. But, sigh, stil on the prowl for rock...

Dearest Bryce! How lovely to have you stop by! Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque!!

Dearest Ash: Tee hee! I'm going off the rails on a crazy train... ;)

Dearest Colleen: Dynamic our twee Scottish friends are not. And my Dearest Wife agrees with you completely. I dunno, I still liked seeing them live - something about the physical proximity to them singing those lovely songs. But I still do need my ummph music, and I ain't getting any. Come back GWAR...