Thursday, August 31, 2006


The Hidden Cameras @ Harbourfront Centre[Indie Unlimited festival]: photo by Mike LigonContinuuing from where I left off from yesterday, next on the agenda was The Hidden Cameras show at Harbourfront Centre CIBC Stage, headlining on the Saturday(August 26) as part of the Indie Unlimited Festival. I made it there and caught a few songs of openers, Toronto's Fritz Helder & The Phantoms, whose punky - gay - dance - party - disco - electro - clash[how that's for a hyphenated genre, huh?] was fun, although certainly not my bag. I believe one of their songs towards the end of their set was actually Madonna's 'Burning Up', or at least it utilized a chorus or two of the song's lyrics. I think they succeeded a fair bit better on one song which was more rap/hip-hop influenced but still with a distinct disco-y/electro clash feel. Of course, a song with lyrics that includes the word "motherf!*ker" will arouse most audiences. The less-than-capacity crowd at the time which probably included a number of passerbys who decided to check out the show seemed quite conservative. Not much boogeying going on except for some people up front and a few people scattered amongst the crowd. But hey, Fritz Helder & The Phantoms did try. And boy, are they a sweaty bunch, especially that caucasian female MC. [Listen: Fritz Helder & The Phantoms @ MySpace]

The seats around the CIBC stage quickly filled up for The Hidden Cameras' set. I've seen The Hidden Cameras live a few times now and the biggest difference really is that their live show appears to moving away from the indie-gay-dance-party vibe of their previous shows to now focus more squarely on the music. So gone are the masked, underwear garbed dancers, the homoerotic imagery of screen projections, the yellow streamers('Golden Streams'), and such and replaced at most with just a bit of flag waving. Ok there was one guy in his boxer shorts. Now their stage presence is a lot more akin to say Belle and Sebastian, albeit spunkier especially when the string section(cello and violinist) really got into their playing and when the 'choir' was in full force(most notably on 'Doot Doot Plot'[YouTube video clip). Also Included in the lineup that night was Toronto's Laura Barrett, mostly on xylophone and sometimes kalimba, and at other times there were at least a Spiral Beach member or two up on stage. The Hidden Cameras performed the entirety of their new album "Awoo". Other than 'Learning The Lie', most if not all of the other songs were entirely new to me, but overall almost immediately appealing in their orch-pop goodness. Still, I'd much preferred it if they'd mixed in older tunes throughout the setlist instead of playing the whole of the new album first. Given the slightly less intense live show this time around, there was still a good amount of audience booty-shaking although certainly not as raucous as the dancing and jumping up and down in the aisles of The 'Cameras previous show at Harbourfront from a few summers ago. By the time, 'I Found Music'[YouTube video clip] came around I was itching for more older tunes, but with the set already running into The Russian Futurists' set over at El Mocambo, I decided to skip out as The Hidden Cameras were to begin their encore. Hopefully, I'll get my fix for some of The 'Cameras older material when they play at the upcoming Virgin Festival at Olympic Island. [Listen: The Hidden Cameras @ MySpace]

A few words about The Russian Futurists and Junior Boys at El Mocambo and The Deadly Snakes at Silver Dollar, hopefully to come tomorrow. S'later.

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