COMMODORE BALLROOM, JUNE 23, 2013
With Camera Obscura, you pretty much know where you’re going to get. Their albums rarely offer much in the way of surprises — they all contain delicately twee songs that mix lush pop with melancholic country — and the same goes for their live show.
The Scottish ensemble walked onstage at the Commodore with the instrumental intro from this year’s Desire Lines piping out over the P.A. and, following a quick hello, they launched into the sprightly “Do It Again.” There were seven musicians on stage in all, included a trumpeter who added flourishes to the heartbroken “Tears for Affairs” and a keyboardist who played MIDI-sax during the tropical-tinged “This Is Love.”
The band’s stage presence was low key, right down to their largely black and white clothing, and only the aforementioned trumpeter — who spent much of the set shaking a tambourine — was in the slightest bit animated. The crowd members were similarly subdued, although they cheered appreciatively in all the right places and I spotted one couple slow dancing right in
the middle of the floor.
The only hiccup was a faulty guitar, which front woman Tracyanne Campell and a sound
man spent much of the set fiddling with. The singer showed some signs of annoyance and repeatedly apologized for the technical difficulties; even when she got it working, however, it was mostly redundant due to the presence of two other guitarists onstage, and she would have probably been better ditching the instrument completely.
Nevertheless, the tunes were gorgeous, with standout singles like “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” and “French Navy” sounding particularly angelic. At one point, my friend beside me commented that all the tracks sounded more or less the same, saying, “This is all just one long song.”
True enough, but it certainly is a beautiful song.
By Alex Hudson
Photos by Sarah Whitlam