Live Review: Camera Obscura @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

By londonist_music Last edited 110 months ago
Live Review: Camera Obscura @ Shepherd's Bush Empire


A typically chilly Tuesday evening in Shepherds Bush, saw hoards of hand holding couples trudge across the common in support of twee pop Glaswegians Camera Obscura; a band adored by the late John Peel and who during this exquisite time of year seem at their most fitting.

First up was Yorkshire born singer songwriter Nick Garrie; a rare treat as he’s enjoyed most of his success on the

continent with the highly acclaimed album ‘The Nightmare Of J.B Stanislas’. Despite this he had the attentive crowd tightly gathered as he sat close to the edge of the stage. His sentimental lyrics resonated around the room and will most certainly have gained him a new following.

Next to the stage was Magic Arm, a dazzlingly curious Beck style maverick who loops folk strings, sparkling laptop effects and grimy buzzing bass punches, fashioning a totally unique sound. The set concluded with placid cover of LCD Soundsystem ‘Daft Punk is Playing at my House’ - an apt way of defining his taste. He had the subtle comic delivery of Martin Freeman to boot - this fellow will go far.

When Camera Obscura finally waltzed out for the last show on their UK tour the crowd had doubled in size. With such pristine effortlessness and cohesion they played songs from their new album ‘My Maudlin Career’ a poignant blend of quaint romanticism, floating ballroom and sophisticated charm. The singer Tracyanne Campbell has the most graceful presence on stage and an enchanting voice, enough to make any Belle and Sebastian fan weak at the knees. ‘French Navy’ was the pick of the bunch with its buoyant chorus complementary backing vocals from guitarist Kenny McKeeve, beautifully echoing drums and backing violin ensemble. It didn’t take long before people were clapping along in time. They are clearly a band with a loyal following having done around twenty shows in London now. After the set finished they strolled out and played a glowing Bruce Springstein cover, a perfect note to end a very civilised evening. Think silken swans on a misty lily padded lake in a far away whimsy wonderland, except in Shepherds Bush.

Rob Young

Last Updated 05 November 2009