Monday, March 22, 2010


Catching a glimpse of the set-list before the start of a gig is always a dangerous thing. What?! No ‘Ban Marriage’ or’ I Believe In The Good Of Life’?! Maybe they’ll be the encores...

It was a diverse set of folk of all ages assembled in the Deaf Institute to see Canada’s indie-poppers The Hidden Cameras. Tonight I spoke with both someone who fell in love with the band “listening to them on the way to school” (first album came out in 2001) as well as someone who’s favourite gig was Genesis performing The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in 1974. As I say diverse. You certainly can’t stereotype a Hidden Cameras fan.

It was a busy but not full night. Which is a shame: given their broad appeal as suggested above and their exceptionally good tunes (‘gay church folk music’ comes close but doesn’t do it justice) the place should have been packed out. The set leant heavily to last year’s “Origin: Orphan” album but included a few from first mini-album ‘Ecce Homo’ and all points in between. The seven piece – drums, guitar, bass, violin, trumpet, keyboards with Maple Leaf flag, and leader Joel Gibb on guitar/vocals centre and front – took up every available bit of the Deaf Institute stage. And if it wasn’t busy enough they brought up some local support for some of the songs – on flute and on tambourine/percussion duties respectively.

They started with the stirring and grandiose title track of the new album (written largely in Berlin where Joel has been listening to German orchestral music apparently). Partly live, partly played over the PA it acted as an overture before the full live sound took over. The set was constructed as a series of peaks it seemed to me – highlights including frantic renditions of ‘B-Boy’ and ‘The Little Bit’. And a particular joy to watch is barefoot violinist Jamie McCarthy who sways, swoops and leaps throughout. There was less movement from the band than I have seen before/on video – probably because of the limited space - but towards the end of the set, Joel freed of guitar moved and jumped around across the width of the stage and the band swapped instruments.

This was a great and a fun gig by a band who deserve more acclaim (If you don’t know the band start with ‘The Smell of Their Own’). I pretty much missed the encore but fairly certain it was ‘He Falls To Me’ before the curfew stopped the band. With a bit more time to pursue the abandon they showed at the end of the set and a few more old favourites too this would have been exceptional night.

Final UK dates include Cardiff, Leeds and London - those and European dates here.

Earlier the evening had been opened by the highly talented Josephine Onimaya accompanied by guitarist Matt (“this is the first time we have played together”). Josephine’s influences as listed on her MurdochSpace include Odetta, Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash - which is a pretty accurate summary of her sound: catchy and captivating bluesy numbers delivered with a stunning vocal.

The Hidden Cameras Set List (correct order I think):

Pencil Case
Colour of a Man
Kingdom Come
Mind, Matter and Waste
Fear Is On
Ode to Self-Publishing: Fear of Zine Failure
Heaven Turns To
He Is The Boss Of Me
Walk On
Do I Belong?
Follow These Eyes
In The NA
The Little Bit
Death of a Tune
Silence Can Be A Headline
He Falls To Me

The Hidden Cameras
Origin: Orphan [BUY]

The Hidden Cameras
Mississauga Goddam [BUY]

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