Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Two word review: "pure class". Camera Obscura are dapper in appearance, accomplished in playing and blessed with songwriting skills by the (tartan) bag-load; tonight's performance which drew almost exclusively on material from the current and previous albums, managed to recreate the sumptious sounds of both records beautifully.

Singer Tracyanne delivers her country-soul-pop songs with an unchanging facial expression but a voice every bit as gorgeous as on record that conveys deep emotion and grand drama. The six piece band behind and around her are never showy or obtrusive (other than some occasional disconcerting staring) and live recreate the lush textures just as effectively as Tracyanne's singing. Last time I saw them I remember being disappointed by the thin sound and lack of atmosphere - I think both had more to do with the venue (Jabez Clegg). Tonight the keyboards at times sounded like a full string section. And what a joy it is to hear a trumpet live.

And the band are as stylish in dress as they are musically: three of the five men in waistcoats or ties and the women in classy vintage-style dresses - more Madmen than Oxfam. Accessories included a swan brooch from Traceyanne and a white clamshell belt for Carey (that's enough on the fashion review, thank you).

It was an audience of all ages, shapes and sizes - certainly on this showing there is not an obvious CO fan 'type'. There were a couple of (single white) males at the front who appeared to be a bit too obsessive in their attention on Tracyanne. Overall the crowd were quietly reverential during the new material and whooping with recognition at songs from Let's Get Out Of This Country. That is except for a couple of Red Stripe drinking irritants who persisted in having a conversation throughout several songs including during Country Mile. If Mr P had been there he would have tore a strip of the young whippersnappers. I only caught the last few minutes of Attic Lights but was pleasantly surprised. For some reason I was expecting blokish landfill indie but they sounded closer to Teenage Fanclub. Worth listening to more...

The Set List:
My Maudlin Career
Tears For Affairs
Honey in the Sun
French Navy
Let's Get Out Of This Country
Forests and Sands
Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
If Looks Could Kill
Country Mile
You Told A Lie
Razzle Dazzle Rose
Eighties Fan
Come Back Margaret

Camera Obscura
My Maudlin Career [BUY]

Camera Obscura
Let's Get Out Of This Country [BUY]

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