Thursday, June 25, 2009

Camera Obscura @ Webster Hall 6.24.09

I'm a fan of Camera Obscura because they remind me of a throwback 60s style pop (I'm a huge fan of the Pipettes as well). They also throw in different elements evident on all their albums, a kind of slow, reflective, dreamy pop with some lush instrumentals but with cuts like "If Looks Could Kill" firmly rooted in a Phil Spector-ish sound. Instantly I think of fellow Scots like the Delgados and Belle & Sebastian (Stuart Murdoch produced their first record, Biggest Blue Hi-Fi).

Lead singer TracyAnn Campbell (with a big-ass flower hair piece) smiled about 6 times during the show (I know that's what you all were wondering). Maybe 8 max. The music may be fairly cheery but lyrically they are earnest and pretty heartfelt, sometimes downtrodden.

One thing's for sure, I enjoyed the show at Warsaw a couple years ago more than this one at Webster Hall. Don't get me wrong, it was great. A couple things got me in a rut: a couple cut right in front of me with only inches to spare and kind of annoyingly nudged into other people's spaces. Why? Too much PDA. Way too much. Licking earlobes, etc. To boot, the guy was 6'3" and kept moving his position to block mine every other second. On top of that, the girl was trying to whisper to the dude that I wouldn't budge from my spot, but I could totally hear them. Whisper fail.

Second point is to people at concerts in general: I think it's okay to yell out stuff. It's an ice breaker sometimes. However, stop yelling out song titles that you want the band to play. Most bands have what's called a set list (granted, some have room for mixing it up, including taking an audience request WHEN THEY CLEARLY STATE IT TO THE CROWD). You can whine and moan about them not playing your favorite song afterward, but it's really no use to scream it every 10 minutes. TracyAnn picked up on this, but my favorite was Piebald way back when, as people requested songs, they threatened to not play any songs that people were shouting out if they kept it up.

The band is can be kind of twee pop; I love their sound, as I stated it's very lush and there's lots of wonderful lead hooks coming from the guitar as well as the keyboardist Carey who was probably rocking out the hardest. I was not quite as impressed last night with TracyAnn's vocals compared to when I saw them at Warsaw, although it was very humid at Webster Hall and I'm sure it takes a toll in little ways. Her voice was still great but I had a small sense that she struggled a little more this time around. Again, their sound live, even though they were missing the big string sounds on plenty of their songs, what really anchored the performance were the rumbling drums and warm basslines, almost overpowering at some points even.

I really enjoyed the Bruce Springsteen cover of "Tougher Than The Rest," which they played during the encore for the first time live. It was a great choice of an older artist with a long list of credentials in pop and rock, and I feel like nobody really covers The Boss because well, he's The Boss. Some people don't like him that much either, so that contributes to it.

With several cuts from each album filling their hour plus set, people really reacted the strongest to all the songs from Let's Get Out Of This Country. I feel like that's the case often times, people cheer stronger whatever a song from the next to last album is played, unless that was a slump and the newest album is better.

Webster Hall provided great sound as usual, and exiting was a bitch, as usual. The flashes of lighting show wasn't really necessary, although the band doesn't get too many points for stage presence, so all those greens and blues were a nice enhancement.

I apologize for the lack of pictures as I try to get my camera up and running a'gin. You can find Camera Obscura at their official site.

Very Beach Boys here:

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