Gig review: Camera Obscura & The Love Language – Richmond, VA 6/5/2010

If you’ve followed this blog at all,  then you know that I am a pretty big fan of Scotland’s own, Camera Obscura. Tonight was my first chance at seeing them live and while it being an “about time” sort of feeling, I was just grateful to finally see the radiant Traceyanne and company in the flesh playing tunes that I have had a serious love affair with over the last year or so.

Opening this evening was a band who have recently floored me and made my expectation/anticipation for this gig go through the roof the last 24 hours. This being, The Love Language, from Raleigh, NC.

The Love Language

The Love Language are led by Stuart McLamb, who eerily resembles a young Kyle McLachlan. The band opened the show with a very slow song which I was quite surprised by as they have quite a few up-tempo tracks on their self-titled debut, as well as on their follow-up which is due out July 13th entitled, “Libraries”.

While I normally would be a bit put-off by a slow song to start the night, I was very impressed with McLamb’s vocals which are pretty damn good needless to say. The band deftly went through a 40 minute set playing the best tracks from their debut and some of the songs off of the aforementioned, “Libraries”. The track “Blue Angel” absolutely soared and I was absolutely impressed with the band’s ability and the very pretty girl they have on keys. Another thing that I liked was that every member of the band sings the harmony. You could tell they were enjoying themselves and each other and it rubbed off on the audience big time. They set the table beautifully for the headliner. I am already excited about my next time seeing this fantastic up and coming band hopefully in a headliner position.

After a brief wait, Camera Obscura took the stage. As I’m a fan, I pretty much knew what songs they were going to play. They opened with arguably my favorite track off of “My Maudlin Career”, the title track, which I recorded…

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura, suffice to say, are not overtly praised normally for their live abilities. They are at their core, an album band. I don’t think this is a bad thing at all, but the album to live replication is exact and from my perspective, almost militaristic in how precise the songs translated from record to live. Traceyanne Campbell, who I absolutely adore, has a wonderful voice and live it seemed to lose some of it’s power, at least it seemed that way with the mix we were presented with on this evening. Despite these criticisms, I enjoyed every single second of their set.

The band ripped through a setlist of about 15 or so songs (more than that probably) and there was very little deviation from the album version. Again, I don’t think this is a bad thing, but a little bit of difference goes a long way in the appreciation department overall. One of my absolute favorites, “Forests & Sands” was beautifully performed and was easily the highlight of the set for me. Other songs that shone brightly were “Swans”, “If Looks Could Kill”, and the gem, “French Navy”.

The band were in a good mood and Traceyanne had some fun banter with the crowd commenting on “mature” people (meaning old farts) that she saw in the crowd. She made the remark that she likes this because they’re probably too stupid to know how to download their records. Bit of an insult in hindsight, but it made those of us that were young laugh.

Overall, the band were tight, precise, and I’m thankful I finally got the opportunity to experience them live. I would definitely go see them again.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank my fellow concertgoers at this gig for respecting everyone else’s right to enjoy the show. There were points in between songs where you could hear a pin drop and the manners of all who attended were top notch. Now normally, I wouldn’t even comment on something like this, but compared to my last visit to this venue, it almost had to be mentioned. It’s a shame it wasn’t a sellout, but it was a very good crowd with lots of pretty girls and a relaxed atmosphere. Well done, Richmond.

The Love Language ****/5

Camera Obscura ****/5

I’ve uploaded a batch of crappy pictures that can be viewed here.

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3 Responses

  1. Unfortunately another very favorite band of mine, Crayon Fields is also not known for strong live performances. These bands are better off in intimate settings where one can expect and appreciate their subdued performances.
    I’ve yet to see Camera Obscura though!

  2. […] should have it that back in June I was due to see Camera Obscura and this was the opening act. Not knowing too much, I decided to […]

  3. […] 2010′s best record, as well as playing a wonderful show opening for Camera Obscura which I reviewed early on in this blog’s […]

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