The Hidden Cameras – November 14, 2009 – Emo’s, Austin TX
Gorgeous. Not the transvestite stage spectacle and loud queer politicizing I expected, but rather a focus on the music, which is more beautiful and orchestral than I realized from their studio recordings. I finally understand why they’re described as chamber pop. Young cute Canadians – maybe not cute – they were each a little dorky and odd in their own way. The lead singer pleased me with his tall lankiness and dark eyes, and his distinctive prettily quirky voice that warms me like the sound of a well-liked familiar friend. There were two fiddlers, a keyboardist, an occasional trumpeter, a drummer – maybe 7 or 8 people on stage total? Their songs are complicated but hooky, like The Shins but more comfortable. They toy with sounds and their voices and the instrumentation in a sophisticated and sonically pleasing way. They’re often billed as “gay church folk music,” and part of what attracted me to them in the first place was their blaspheming of religious imagery by jumbling it up with explicit homosexual lyrics. While there is something majestic and holy in their sound, the term “folk” doesn’t do credit to their sound. This band and I were meant for each other.