Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Magic Arm Is Playing At My House, My House... is Camera Obscura, who he supported a couple of nights ago at the Sala Apolo.

If looks could kill... singer Tracyanne Campbell casts a pensive glance to the audience at the last gig of Camera Obscura's European tour - in Poble Sec.

We'd read some pretty negative things about Camera Obscura's live performances online, so despite the fact that French Navy from the current My Maudlin Career is one of the records of the year - THE record of the year, according to Mrs. HD - and Let's Get Out Of This Country is one of my favourite albums of the noughties - we had pretty low expectations as we set off for the gig on Monday 9th November at the Sala Apolo. We were imagining a twee, non-comital performance of a band going through the motions. As it turned out, we couldn't have been more wrong.

Tim (left) and Marc (right, wearing"Nixon" basball cap). 

The venue had been well chosen. Plush velvet curtains atmospheric lighting and an air of bye-gone opulence that mirrored CO's deep, multi-layered retro sound with its heavy air of mournfulness. It did not suit the support act of the evening one bit, however, who might have looked more at home in some dingy subterranean art-house gathering. 

Magic Arm is usually just Marc Rigelsford , his battered guitar, keyboard and loop pedal. But tonight he was joined by Tim Cronin on trumpet. Tim was also to provide some brass to the main act later on. Magic Arm has been fêted by no less than Marc Riley, and the Fallen 6Music DJ's endorsement was not misplaced, as I hope the embedded video demonstrates. And on the night he not only put on good performance but was unfailingly courteous to the crowd, even if in the opinion of this reviewer he might have looked more at home performing at La Papa .

Magic Arm performed this, a great cover of LCD Soundsystem's Daft Punk Is Playing At My House and about a dozen more tracks, which I'm sure you'll be able to find on his MySpace or Facebook pages. Next up there was a lengthy tuning up session of CO's impressive selection of guitars (above) by the roadies, and a chance to enjoy a few €4-a-pop beers from the bar.

When the main act came on it was a revelation. Lead singer Tracyanne dominated the band, all of whom were a lot older than I was expecting (which may  explain the knowing 80s references in a few of their songs) were anything but twee. The sound was as good as on record, and Tracyanne endeared herself to the crowd by asking them to 'make more noise than Madrid'. There's a very funny amateur video of them performing Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken online, but I'll leave you with a more professional attempt to capture the glory that is If Looks Could Kill. 

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