- Read the DC9 at Night review here
Last night, The Loft’s 21st century vibe was taken back a few decades as Scottish indie band Camera Obscura brought out a crowd of vintage-clad hipsters and older fans alike. All seven of the Camera Obscura members were dressed as if they had just flown in from the 50s – keyboardist Carey Lander sported a bubblegum pink dress with a thick white seashell-adorned belt and a pink bow in her hair to boot, while the men on guitars looked quite dapper in their vintage vests and ties.
The sanguine melodies transported the audience into another era as well, to some time and place where life is perpetually good and there’s always a funky new beat to be heard. Even the slowest songs sound optimistic – if I would have been on the Titanic, “My Maudlin Career” would most certainly have been the record I would have put on the ol’ gramophone as the ship went down. These buoyant tunes were the perfect antidote to the day’s heat.
Without a doubt, it was the percussion section that stole the show. From the maracas to the drums, those three men kept it rocking all night. Just watching them groove to their own sound was entertainment enough. Songs were often sewn together with the beat of the drum, moving the crowd’s energy effortlessly from one tune to the next.
It was the energy of the set that was so infectious. By the time “French Navy” came along, some people were actually swing dancing. Even the flip flopped frat boys were busting moves (That is, if you consider a frequent but awkward head bob a “move”). My only regret was that I hadn’t brought my own tambourine to shake rhythmically – it was definitely the kind of show where all you want to do is get on stage and get in on the musical fun.
Camera Obscura is the kind of band that literally comes alive on stage. I can only liken this transformation to a childhood fave – Shrinky Dinks. When you listen to the Scots’ music on an album, it’s like a complex Shrinky Dink – all the intricately illustrated layers of ink are heated and contracted into a unified, compact piece of art. But in Camera Obscura’s live act, every layer comes apart and each listener can dissect the band’s sensational sound.
Equally thrilling was the opening act, Anni Rossi. The Minnesota native was a pleasant surprise. After a modest introduction, she whipped out a viola and began gracefully playing. Her instrumental performance was mesmerizing – not a voice could be heard as she switched between songs. Her delicate vocals sounded not unlike those of local singer Manya Repnikova of Blue Petal.
If you aren’t already familiar with both Camera Obscura and Anni Rossi, be sure to give them both a good listen.