There were so many music options in the city this past weekend(Pride, Toronto City Roots Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Zunior 5th Anniversary show at Tranzac) that I'd thought a simple gig at Lee's Palace might not suffice. However, I can always make an exception for Glasgow, Scotland's Camera Obscura whose magnificent pop melodies could send chills up my spine at just the right moments.
Chicagoan Anni Rossi, scheduled to have started her set at 10:15 pm according to the Lee's Palace website, finally came on after 10:30 pm. A deservedly sold-out show for Camera Obscura but a good number of patrons had shown up for Ms. Rossi's opening set. It was a pleasant introduction to her music. She had a creative and casual flair to her viola playing that was reminiscent to artists like Owen Pallett though perhaps warmer sounding than the starker tones that Pallett favours. Ms. Rossi, a petite brunette, stood on a suitcase of some sort which I'd thought she was using to raise her height on stage, but she actually used it to accompany herself with her own foot-stomping percussion. Anni's vocals had a nice clear timbre and range that reminded me of Regina Spektor. The combination of these components emphasized her well-developed melodies and song structure and produced a surprisingly rich sound. Too short of a set at 20 minutes as I thought she was only starting to warm up. It was hard to tell if people were enjoying her as a chatty crowd especially near the back may have pointed otherwise but the response between songs was enthusiastic.
It was not too hard for Camera Obscura to sell-out Lee's Palace considering they'd played well-attended shows in Toronto at larger venues The Opera House(in January 2007) and Phoenix Concert Theatre(in August 2007) in the past. I'd only given their latest album "My Maudlin Career" a cursory listen prior to the show, although their single 'French Navy' I'd listened to far more times on their MySpace. While the album hasn't yet made an impact as their previous album "Let's Get Out Of This Country" had immediately done, 'French Navy' is a succinct slice of pop and a great addition to their oeuvre.
The setlist was a mix of the new album and their previous and reaching back to "Underachievers Please Try Harder"(for 'Teenager') and "Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi" (for 'Eighties Fan'). For the most part the atmosphere within the crowd was a mixture of enthusisam and politeness. Camera obscura don't intend to impress visually (unless like myself you have a crush on Tracyanne or Carey, or you're the dude who yelled out to Tracyanne that he loved her) so the set's mostly reliant on the music and perhaps a bit of humourous banter along the way. Although the set started with some slower tunes, the more uptempo songs (like 'French Navy', 'If Looks Could Kill'[I couldn't help singing the lyric "Tell me where it all went wrong, Maybe I can make it better"], 'Let's Get Out of This Country') predictably got the crowd going.
Photos: Camera Obscura, Anni Rossi @ Lee's Palace (June 27, 2009)
Chromewaves and The Panic Manual have reviews and photos of the show as well.
MySpace: Anni Rossi
MySpace: Camera Obscura
Happy Canada Day everyone! So what will it be for me tonight? The Constantines and Chad VanGaalen down at Harbourfront Centre or Sloan here in Mississauga at the Civic Centre?