Monday, 27 April 2009

Camera Obscura/Attic Lights/Cairn String Quartet - Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow 26 April 2009

This gig wasn’t so much a ‘headline and support’ as a double whammy of pop-tastic acts who treated a packed Barrowlands to a night that will live long in the memory.

With a set tighter than two coats of paint, Attic Lights showed why they should be a force to be reckoned with over the next few years, if there’s any justice. Having left Island Records by mutual consent, the band is working on new material and previewed a new song in the shape of “Stay Before You Leave”. It slipped into the set like it had been there for years and augurs well for their next album.

If Attic Lights were the meat and two veg of the night, Camera Obscura were the most sumptuous of desserts. A sundae of bittersweet lyrics and a luscious sound that you could just melt into.

Coming on to the strains of Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood”, Camera Obscura showed no sign of nerves as they kicked off with the title track from new album “My Maudlin Career”, which as they later informed us with genuine surprise, had entered the UK album charts at 32. Most of the new album was aired, including current single “French Navy”, along with a veritable ‘greatest hits’ of classic singles and much-loved album tracks.

In between all the big pop tunes were the sensitive and haunting “James” and “Country Mile”, which were given the quiet reverence they deserved. The set ended with a double-barrelled blast of power pop as “Lloyd Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken” and “Honey In The Sun” (surely the next single and THE hit of the summer, should the weather oblige) brought the crowd to a frenzy. Old favourites were the order of the day for the encores as “Eighties Fan” and “If Looks Could Kill” brought proceedings to an end. I can only speak for myself but I left the venue with a lovely warm feeling inside and a sense that maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all. That’s what Camera Obscura’s music can do for you.

The Cairn String Quartet, a quadrumvirate resplendent in black, accompanied both acts. Enhancing an already luscious sound, along with their own growing reputation, these girls are cornering the strings-for-hire market in Scotland. Such is the demand for their services that a studio date with Pop Up beckons and a possible hook up with Ally Kerr. Next stop, the world.

Attic Lights
Never Get Sick of The Sea
Dirty Thirst
Stay Before You Leave
5 Weeks Behind (CSQ)
Wendy (CSQ)
Late Night Sunshine (CSQ)
Bring You Down (CSQ)

Camera Obscura
My Maudlin Career
Tears for Affairs
The Sweetest Thing (CSQ)
French Navy (CSQ)
Let’s Get Out of This Country
Forest and Sands (w/Tim, Attic Lights)
Come Back Margaret
Swans (w/Tim, Attic Lights)
Country Mile
Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken (CSQ)
Honey In The Sun
Eighties Fan (CSQ)
If Looks Could Kill

CSQ – Accompanied by Cairn String Quartet

On a personal level, I’d like to offer a big thanks to the Attic Lights guys, the Cairn String Quartet girls and Francis McDonald for their time and chat.

Music in the car going to the gig: Various - Out of Sight: More Sounds from the In Crowd
Music in the car coming from the gig: Billie Davis – Tell Him: The Decca Years

Highlights: Attic Lights “Never Get Sick of The Sea”, Camera Obscura “Country Mile”, the Cairn String Quartet.
Lowlights: The people chatting ALL the way through the Attic Lights set and the bird who shat on me before the gig!

After a couple of dates over the Irish Sea, Camera Obscura head off to America and Attic Lights stay in the UK for some festival dates, including the Darvel Homecoming Festival at Darvel Town Hall on Friday 8 May 2009. See you there.

The Cat

1 comment:

  1. To date I'm still massively unimpressed by Attic Lights, even though I *want* to like them. Been ages since I've seen them, so to be fair, they might be better now.