The crowd is not entirely what you would expect as you make your way into the unnecessarily stringent security at The Henry Fonda Theater. Sure, you've got your standard black-rimmed glasses wearing, flannel t-shirt loving audience, even some unabashedly indie enough to wear shirts with Blonde Redhead and Metric monikers, but there are also an assortment of lesbians, gay men, and, shall we say, rotund people in the mix. In a way the audience is very much akin to the music of Camera Obscura: Generally similar, but with noticeable flecks of deviation.
Before getting to Camera Obscura, it is important to note the band's opening acts, which possessed a sound not altogether unlike the vocal stylings of C.O.'s front woman Tracyanne Campbell. First up was Anni Rossi, who classifies her music as Italian pop/freestyle. Whatever its category, it was amazing. Violins should really be used more frequently in modern pop songs. Her set was far too short in comparison to the next opener, Agent Ribbons, a band that sort of proves that nothing good ever comes out of Sacramento...ever. Only camp anomalies, I'm afraid (Molly Ringwald included).
Ahem, sorry, I've let my personal views about the town obstruct my judgment. In all fairness, Agent Ribbons has some fairly likeable lyrics, including one of the songs played at the show, "The World is a Cigarette" in which the following metaphor is touted: "The world is a cigarette/the world is an oyster/I'll drag on it to my heart's content."
After a somewhat divaish amount of time, the members of Camera Obscura demurely walked onstage and jumped into one of their more raucous songs (a considerable feat based on the usual slow tempos of their songs) from My Maudlin Career and focused heavily on the tracks from that album for the rest of their set. Highlights included the single "French Navy," "The Sweetest Thing," "Tears for Affairs," "You Told A Lie," and "James," arguably their best ballad to date.
After pretending the show was over, the band came back to perform two songs, closing with the single "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken," from their previous album, Let's Get Out of This Country. Once the song was complete, Tracyanne generously distributed single stemmed red roses to select members of the audience and then it was over as not so quickly as it began.
By and large, Camera Obscura is an album band. Their stage presence is not all that extraordinary and their songs not noticeably reinvented enough to make a difference.