Camera Obscura has been around since the 1990’s. So it was no surprise that upon arriving at Gothic Theatre this weekend to see the band, I was accompanied by a grip of 40 somethings. My first time at the Gothic, I was mystified by the dark emerald-city inspired venue. There were red glowing lights accompanied by deep serpentine purples and blue-greens. It is quite a romantic venue - hence, there were lots of couples there.
I had high expectations for Camera Obscura. After all, being around for fifteen plus years, you’d think they know how to keep their fans. As you might know, Camera Obscura is from Scotland. Scots are typically pretty low-key. I wasn’t expecting Van Halen to walk out and start frazzling the crowd in true metal fashion - but some expression would have been lovely.
Unfortunately, Camera Obscura is a group of musicians, not performers. The sound was excellent, joyful and clear like a sunny day. However, it took them way too long to get to the songs that you could tell people really wanted to hear. “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” finally was played and the crowd was a mess of jubilee. Dancing and singing along overtook the audience.
In all honesty, the unsung hero in this mess of a performance was the trumpet player, Tim Cronin. He looked like a young Michael Cera and his trumpet skills were extremely rad. I would have to say that he had the most entertaining performance of anyone on the stage. It’s not often you’re mesmerized with a trumpet player/percussionist.
Overall, I was disappointed. They seemed to be in a rush to get off stage in a way. Being Scottish doesn’t give you a free card to be boring on stage. Move around a little bit. I know the singer is pregnant but she could at least tap her foot and smile once in a while. There was hardly any engaging with the audience, which made it tough to bear.
I must hand it to them - their ending was great. This was the only point that you could tell that they were passionate about their music. They finally turned on the charisma when it counted. They have a wonderful sound. A sad story - but it’s great music to go check out if you’re trying to get to know someone and you want to chat. If you’re looking to see an amazing performance, maybe you should go check out Sweet Thing instead.
All in all, enjoy Camera Obscura’s music via record. Don’t waste your time or money on seeing them live. Well, the trumpet player might actually be worth it. Tim Cronin rocks - forever.