Thursday, November 26, 2009

Camera Obscura and The starlets at the Sala Heineken, Madrid

The stage...

(Sala Heineken, Madrid)
Lee reaching for every beat...

One of the five highly demanded setlist copies (lucky mee):
Taped some bits of the concert:
*"Pen and notebook"

* Tracyanne talks about playing in Madrid again:

The sound in the other stuff I recorded was too loud for my picky camera. Or else I'd have also uploaded "If looks could kill", probably the top moment of the night.
The concert was great and as I'd read everywhere, despite their technical difficulty they make the songs sound even better live -Tracyanne had some sound problems for the first songs, though-. And unlike I'd also read, I saw plenty of talking to the public, feelings, smiles and so on. Too serious? No way, they can't all be Robbie Williams (and thank God for that - no harm intended to him, he seriously rocks in a few songs).
The night setlist included half the new record, all the best songs off it, then songs from all their other albums. The most surprising choice was "Pen and notebook", from their first, which was a gift to their vintage fans (not to forget that their first label was Spanish and that they toured Spain extensively during those years, so they have a soft spot for these whereabouts and some people around here have been following them for a looong time). As the song progressed some hush sounds came from a part of the audience and the crowd fell totally silent (that lapsus aside, they had been really well behaved up till then, but that song was the quietest so...). Tracyanne seemed to pour a lot of emotions on this one, to me the saddest Camera Obscura song by far.
And I don't know why I went and wrote this mini bio too (anyway, info on them is very scattered on the web):
If it seems it took a bit for Camera Obscura to find their identity (with their first two records having some maybe too marked influences) that is by now a solved issue. They began their musical career at the same time as Belle and Sebastian, their paths intertwining often, which is natural being in the same city, and Stuart Murdoch producing their first album and also having a hand in the second one (and doesn't "Let me go home" sound just like a Belle and Sebastian song). During those times the singing and composing would be shared/alternated between Tracyanne and guitar Kenny McKeeve as well as John Henderson?, sometimes producing fantastic tracks like "Hands up baby" (written by Kenny). More on that in this article I've discovered by looking for info on John's role, no easy task!. From their third album to date Tracyanne seems to have taken over both roles, which has maybe made them lose some elements but has also resulted in making their sound much more unique (if Kenny still has a remarkable role in the chorus) . The third album would be key in that, as at that moment other influences were thrown into the mix, their album being recorded in Sweden and being greatly in tune with the increasingly important music movement that's been going on up there for a while. And so among the contributors to this album we find well known names there like Victoria Bergsman (The Concretes, Taken by Trees) and Brita Persson. Their tunes get very close to pop perfection in tracks like Lloyd..., If looks.. and so the group consolidates their fan base and widens it considerably.
My Maudlin career, their latest, is just the cherry on top, the best crafted of all, the most poignant in its lyrics... and I just can't wait to listen to what comes next. It seems it won't happen for a while though, as I was able to talk to them for a bit after this show (they are the nicest people) and they said they're too immersed in touring right now (they have a few dates in the US shortly, and then they'll start 2010 touring again..). Well, this group has an amazing number of B sides, exclusive bonus tracks, covers... maybe that could be released first.
Also asked Kenny if they ever play "Roman holiday" live (for some reason, probably its serenity, I listen to this song a lot lately), he said merrily that they do sometimes, when they can remember the lyrics, "which is not often". Well, they've played 67 different songs at least (the lyrics for 66 of them are posted here) so...
To know more about the first three records of the band, you can go to their former (and Spanish) label Elefant Records website, they have bothered to put up a fantastic amount of stuff, including streamings of many full tracks (B-sides, rare stuff ...), info as well as lyrics, video, etc. Thanks to them for generously sharing all that.
I could also talk about the long line in front of the merch table when the concert ended, how loyal their fans are and how they cherish this group: how the guys behind me -one of them seriously gorgeous- whispered to each other "mírala qué guapa es" (kinda translates into " look at her, so beautiful") with such tenderness as soon as Tracyanne appeared onstage... or other stuff, but some things I'll keep to myself. Plus, this post would never end, and I've other things to do in life.
Anybody gets to the end of this post, they get a prize!
Since this post is already too long I've done a different one for supporting act the Starlets, here.
This was posted Nov 9th but I'm pushing it up so my blog looks a bit more musical (that's what it's supposed to be but then I start posting silly stuff... ;)
Tags: Camera Obscura, Camera Obscura Madrid, Camera Obscura sala Heineken, Camera Obscura setlist

No comments: