Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Razzle Dazzle Rose

UK bands kicking off a month-long North American tour could do far worse than to do so in Toronto, as I doubt there are many more cities on the continent more favourably inclined to all things British. Scotland’s Camera Obscura did just that this past Tuesday night to a sold-out, sweltering Horseshoe in support of their excellent new album, Let’s Get Out Of This Country.

Toronto’s Diableros got the nod to open both the Toronto and Montreal shows on the tour – a bit of an odd choice, stylistically, but I wasn’t going to complain as I’ve missed numerous opportunities to see them play in the past half-year and was thankful for the gimme. Many have complained about the fuzzy production of their debut album You Can’t Break The Strings In Our Olympic Hearts but after seeing them live, I gotta say – that’s what they sound like. The guitars may jangle a little cleaner but everything else, from the organs doing battle with the distorto-bass for sonic space to Phoebe Lee’s propulsive drums and Pete Carmichael’s howl sound remarkably similar live to how they do on record – or maybe that should be the other way around. Either way, their set was intense and impassioned and actually got the front of the club packed with both the converted and the curious, no mean feat for an opening band – even a hotly-tipped local one.

Much of what makes Let’s Get Out Of This Country such a leap forwards from the aptly-titled Underachievers Please Try Harder is the extra vim in songs like “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”, “If Looks Could Kill” and the title track that bust the band out of any twee-pop pigeonhole one might have been tempted to place them in. But in a set that drew heavily from both those records, it was unavoidable that the energy levels would drift back towards the more delicate mid-tempo numbers. Luckily, the band has gotten quite good at those over the years. There were a few flubs that could be chalked up to first-show jitters, but maybe because they accepted that there were going to be a few hiccups in the performance (right before starting the show, they realized that the soundman had all their set lists) and that the audience wasn’t going to hold it against them, they were quite relaxed onstage. Tracyanne Campbell, carrying the frontperson mantle entirely on her own after the departure of John Henderson at the start of last year, was surprisingly chipper and chatty and certainly set a good tone for the night though it’s a shame she got the coughs during the outro of “Lloyd” and couldn’t sing it properly. Alas. But a thoroughly enjoyable show if maybe not as intoxicating as the album it was in support of.

I look at my photos from Tuesday and my photos from two years ago and I laugh. Ha ha. Tracyanne also talks to The Independent Weekly about Lloyd Cole.

MP3: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country
MP3: The Diableros – “Push It To Monday”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” (MOV)
Video: The Diableros – “Sugar Laced Soul” (MOV)
MySpace: Camera Obscura
MySpace: The Diableros

The Airfields, a band which at last check counted two Diableros amongst their roster, have a new video from their Laneways EP. It’s a charming little retro film montage set to one of the saddest and prettiest songs on the record.

Video: The Airfields – “Red Fox” (YouTube)

The New Pollution talked to The Concretes when they kicked off their own North American tour at the Horseshoe back in May. Hopefully Camera Obscura’s turns out better than their Swedish compatriots’ did.

Aversion has some info on the new Sparklehorse record. Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain will be out September 26 and is described as being “in the style of VivaDixie/Good Morning Spider“. While I’m personally of the belief that It’s A Wonderful Life is the best Sparklehorse record, when Mark Linkous releases a new record after a half-decade, you take it whatever it sounds like. Either way, NME has the tracklisting.

NOW talks to The M’s about working with Jonathan Demme on the video for “Future Women”. The M’s open up for Wilco at Massey Hall tomorrow night.

Bradley’s Almanac has a recording of Buffalo Tom’s recent hometown show in Boston.

Update: Anyone need a single ticket for Wilco tomorrow night? 6th row floor, centre-right. I paid around $58 so best offer thereabouts. Email me. Thanks.

np – Luna / Rendezvous

By : Frank Yang at 8:30 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    I agree that Camera Obscura’s show wasn’t quite as fine as their new record, but they are -ALMOST- there and played a wonderful set nevertheless. Their banter was quite charming, they pulled off most of the arrangements, threw in some nice bits that gave the songs a little more punch live (I particularly enjoyed the chorus of "You Can Call Me Al" added as a coda to "Let’s Get Out of This Country"), and while there were a few opening-night jitters, the band still sounded very tight. It’s a shame though that they flubbed the end of my favourite single of 2006 ("Lloyd, I’m Ready…"), but Tracyanne redeemed herself by throwing me her flower at the end of the set…which I immediately regifted to my girlfriend!

    Btw, does anyone know the set times for tonight’s Calexico show?

  2. Frank says:

    you got the flower? nice!

    tonight – doors 8:30, Oakley Hall 9:15, Calexico 10:30

  3. Rick Rubin Bitch says:

    I might actually have gone to the
    Camera Obscura show in Montreal if I wasn’t so addicted to Johnny Cash’s
    killer new album of his last material
    American V.

  4. Gary says:

    It’s amazing what two years of camera stylin’ and a DSLR can do.

  5. Damon says:


    What is up with this?

    Saturday July 15: Local Rock
    ‘Kids’ @ 12:30, ‘My Mom vs Your Dad’ @ 11:30, ‘Holy Fire’ @ 10:30, and ‘Guests’ @ 9:30. $5.00 at the door. [Lee’s Palace website]


  6. Andy says:

    "Underachievers…" was a fine album although I agree that the new one is an entirely different kettle of fish. I’ve managed to miss the couple of shows they’ve played in London recently so haven’t seen them since John left – really ought to make an effort next time!

  7. mike says:

    I thought Camera Obscura could have put in a little more energy into their performance at the Horseshoe but since the music was pop perfection I will forgive ’em. And it did help that I was close to the front so I could see Tracyanne and Carey up close. ;-)

  8. juepucta says:

    If you dig the Diableros and the Airfields, check out Hillman. They also share a member (or members?) with those bands: "Spooky" Matt R. (taaaaall keyboard dude).


  9. Frank says:

    Damon – I think what’s to be inferred is that there will be a local rock show at Lee’s Palace on July 15 featuring the listed bands on or around the listed times.

    Not really meaning to be a smart-ass, but what was the question?

  10. mike says:

    Maybe Damon’s question/comment has to do with the fact that Lee’s Palace listed one band as ‘My Mom vs Your Dad’ when they probably meant ‘My Dad Vs Yours’. Just guessing.

  11. Frank says:

    Oh, I didn’t really read the listing since I already knew MDvsY was on the bill. Maybe it’s a super-group with Say Hi To Your Mom and My Dad Vs Yours. Playing Rush covers.

  12. the NP says:

    thanks much for the links

  13. David says:

    Your old photos look like my recent ones. The stuff you’re shooting now is of very high quality – just great stuff!