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.
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.
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.
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