update [Oct 4/09, 11:19 pm]: Review now posted below.
It was Goodhandy's, a little hidden grotto (at least to me) at the intersection of Church and Richmond Sts. in Toronto which was the site for The Hidden Cameras' special record release show for their new album "Origin:Orphan". Tickets for the show were given away with a limited number of their new album sold through local record shows Rotate This, Soundscapes and Criminal Records or online through Arts & Crafts. With the album selling for $13.99 at Rotate This, a free ticket to the show was a nice bonus. Even if I'd already picked up the album, purchasing the album again just to get the concert ticket would have been more than worth it (and then of course, I could have given the CD away to a friend, sell it to a used CD shop or perhaps just leave it on someone's doorstep). Whether it was a sly method for Arts & Crafts and or the band to pad album sales as someone at Stille Post hypothesized or if it was just a nice promotional gimmick, in the end it was the fans that won.
With no prior knowledge of Goodhandy's, it was immediate that I realized it was a club that catered to the gay community - of course there was much evidence, although the ads in the men's washroom with guys with their cocks hanging out definitely gave an impression that this wasn't Lee's Palace or Horseshoe Tavern. Ultimately, it was not too surprising a choice of a venue I guess given the band playing that night. Actually, it's a nice little venue with a good stage and a standing area balcony that overlooked the main floor. Indie rock shows are apparently not their forte but perhaps in the future, in between the dance and sex show nights, they'll branch out to indie rock.
As a record release party would dictate, the Cameras' Joel Gibb declared they wouldn't be playing any old songs and the band played their new album "Origin:Orphan" in its entirety. Prior to the show, I'd only heard first single 'In The NA' which I thought was a good uptempo addition to their ouvre but hearing the rest of the album for the first time I realized how consistently good it was. Musically they still maintain a balance between a melancholy folkiness and their sunnier pop side although there seems to be a bit of a darker streak that runs through the album. With a track like the more ambitious 'Walk On' it utilized a commanding horn section(for the show playing from the second floor balcony overlooking over the audience. Also for lead off track 'Ratify The New' the band came onto the stage dressed in black hoods, like part of a secret society, with the song beginning ominously with a lengthy keyboard drone before building to a cacophonous climax.
But the Cameras still possess their sunnier side as lead single 'In The NA' illustrated. The Cameras even performed a more groove-oriented dance number for which Joel encourage the audience to dance to(and with the upper balcony eventually revealing a band of gold-sheeted ghosts dancing vigorously along), presumably trying to get us out of our shell as we'd been generally quiet between songs. Joel stuck to his word, at least for the main set, that they'd only play songs off the new album but of course they came back for an encore. The encore turned out to be one song which Joel said that the last time they'd performed it was when they played the Metro Theatre (which if you go by the band's show history was back in 2001). Overall, the main set thoroughly illustrated in my opinion how good the new album is. Perhaps it's time for them to reclaim their title as Toronto's best current band.
The band are currently on tour in Canada and the U.s. from now till December. They play the James St. North Arts Crawl in Hamilton, Ontario on October 9 and end this tour leg on December 5 back in Toronto at The Opera House.
Photos: The Hidden Cameras @ Goodhandy's in Toronto (September 29, 2009)
MySpace: The Hidden Cameras
Video: The Hidden Cameras - "In The NA" (music video)
Video: The Hidden Cameras - "He Falls To Me" (live)