Camera Obscura: 26 November 2009 - The Phoenix Theatre, Toronto / Words and Pictures by Dave MacIntyre
Over the past few months, Ontario has seen a flood of live shows from great bands out of Glasgow Scotland, including Glasvegas, The Twilight Sad, and We Were Promised Jetpacks. On Thursday night at a surprisingly quiet Phoenix Theatre, Camera Obscura added their name to the list. Opening for the band was San Francisco’s Papercuts who despite appearing painfully nervous and awkward on stage (front man Jason Quever dropped his guitar pick mid play and later got his guitar tangled in the microphone cord) played a short but impressive set. Their dreamy-pop guitars and keyboards nicely complimented Camera Obscura’s moody sounds. By the time Camera Obscura stepped on stage the room had filled in somewhat. The group played a variety of fan favorites, including “I Don’t Want to See You Anymore,” “Lloyd I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken,” “If Looks Could Kill,” and “French Navy.” Singing effortlessly, Tracyanne Campbell’s voice contained an underlying melancholy that lent authenticity to the lyrics. Her band mates Carey Lander, Kenny McKeeve, Gavin Dunbar and Lee Thomson were equally musically solid, but the overall stage presence of the band left much to be desired -- a trait that seems to be common amongst even the most talented Glasgow acts. This utter lack of stage dynamic made seeing them live no different from listening to their albums played really loud. The evening ended with encore performances of “Let’s Get Out Off This Country,” “Forest And Sands,” and the highlight finale “Razzle Dazzle Rose.” Despite the showy name, I left feeling underwhelmed.