Camera Obscura at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, November 22, 2009 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, November 22, 2009,

Nov 24, 2009 Web Exclusive Photography by Laura Leebove Bookmark and Share

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell crooned, “I don’t wanna be sad again” in “My Maudlin Career,” the set opener of the band’s Nov. 22 show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg (and title track of its latest record), but her claim wasn’t very convincing. She wasn’t all doom and gloom through the whole set, but it wasn’t unusual to see her with little expression on her facequite strange for a woman fronting songs that are so lyrically and musically dramatic.

The Glasgow, Scotland, group’s whole catalog is just like the title of this year’s Maudlin suggests: In “The Sweetest Thing,” Campbell sang, “I’m going out on a date tonight/To try to fall out of love with you,” and on “James” she lamented, “Oh James, you broke me/I thought I knew you well.”

Songs came mostly from Maudlin and 2006’s Let’s Get Out Of This Country, including “Tears For Affairs,” “The Sweetest Thing,” and “Come Back Margaret.” Obvious highlights were the sugary fan favorites like “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken,” which kicked off with organ synth effects, and “French Navy,” easily the band’s catchiest song, with celebratory horns and girl-group harmonies.

Along with her vocals, Campbell contributed percussion in the form of an avocado-shaped shaker and a tambourine and, thanks to horns, keys, a saxophone, whammy bar, and two percussionists, the band’s live sound paralleled its recordings. Technical difficulties and shouting from a possibly drunken Irish man in the crowd delayed the start of the encore, which included the new holiday single, “The Blizzard,” sung with lyrics sheet unabashedly in hand. “Razzle Dazzle Rose” appropriately closed the set much like it started, as Campbell sang, “I tried to be happy but it wasn’t easy.”


“My Maudlin Career”


“Honey In The Sun”

“Tears For Affairs”


“The Sweetest Thing”

“French Navy”

“Pen And Notebook”


“Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”

“If Looks Could Kill”

“Eighties Fan”

“Come Back Margaret”


“Let’s Get Out Of This Country”

“The Blizzard”

“Razzle Dazzle Rose”


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