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!