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The Hidden Cameras @ Sala Rossa

Posted by Trixie / November 13, 2006

hidden-cameras.jpgMy evocative portrait of the band onstage.

I had heard good things about The Hidden Cameras live and was looking forward to seeing them. My night started off rocky with a botched attempt to procure a digital camera (that kerfuffle is a whole other story: hidden cameras, indeed). Anyway, this made me late enough to break my new resolution to actually catch the opening act(s). But I narrowly arrived in time to see the headliners embark upon their set with some cute opening flare: the pack of them filing into the Sala and up onto the stage, making a little parade of various acoustic sounds that turned electric once they got positioned and plugged in. Pretty twee, and not really dramatic enough to warrant the gesture, but I was open to appreciating the attempt at theatricality, and the opening number was pretty fun, good pleasant boisterous—though not rocking—pop. So I was ready to enjoy, and hopefully have my enjoyment build; judging from the jubilant mood of the crowd, I figured this show could pay off in pure pop bliss.

But then I got bored. So bored I decided I could better use my time sketching a primitive portrait of the band on a bar napkin, instead of giving the show my undivided attention. Some nicely attired older gentleman noticed this and seemed very charmed by my outpouring of creativity, and chatted to my blank smiles for a while, until he went away looking very satisfied with the exchange. In the din, I had not made out a word he said. I might have flattered myself, and assumed he was hitting on me, except…let’s just say that this is one show where, in general, a man-to-woman exchange is likely to be the least sexually-charged of any gender combination. So then I might have flattered myself that, erotic attraction not being a factor, the amiable fellow was just really admiring my art. But, well…you can see my drawing. So maybe he was just a kind soul trying to make me feel better about myself.

Because I probably looked pretty unhappy. From what I understand, The Hidden Cameras have, in their time, incorporated all sorts of clever antics and devices to round out the show. None on display this time, unless you count the shtick of the dozens of band members (okay, maybe like eight in the present incarnation) jumping around in a rather forced-looking display of joie de vivre. Oh ya, and the aforementioned fairly weak entrance. Let me just say that, while such tricks can undoubtedly add to a show, the absence of them should not detract; that is, I don’t think any given performance should be sold on the basis of enhancing and/or distracting conceptual apparatuses or lack thereof. But, really, in this instance I needed something more to spice up the decidedly poppy but not quite catchy enough songs that were progressively losing my interest.

I overheard a discussion to the effect that the frontman was disappointing. True, he was not particularly charismatic, but he struck a good solid grounding note amidst what otherwise seemed to be just so much multi-instrumental fiddle-faddle. But I will hand it to the consistently hopping and bopping band members: they did keep up a lot of good energy, especially dealing with some terrible sound. I hate to be one of those wankers who always complains about the minutiae of sound problems at a show, but, really, the mix was way off-kilter, with lots of painfully screeching shrillness and an oft-times distorted bass that made me feel like it was trying to reach up and pull my guts out through my toes.

There were a number of what appeared to be parents present at the show, and certainly they had every reason to be proud of the effort made by their spirited and musical progeny. And, again, everyone else—except the barkeep, who looked to be sharing my apathy—were plainly having a hell of a time. So maybe it was just me. But I had way more fun walking through the misty night on my way home.

(By the way, if The Hidden Cameras publicity machine wants to get ahold of me to purchase the original copy of the lovely and revealing portrait featured here, it’s still available.)



OJ / November 13, 2006 at 10:00 am
I love the portrait. It's about a billion times better than any of my concert photos - looking forward to the next.
Omar / November 13, 2006 at 11:24 am
Please always do concert portraits like this forever...then we could hold an MP art show in a Mile End gallery and sip wine and just observe the greatness.

Good point to about stage antics being something a band cannot rely on - I felt that way when I saw The Decembrists.
golu dolls / March 22, 2019 at 12:04 am
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Kanchipuram sarees / March 22, 2019 at 12:04 am
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Kanchipuram sarees / March 22, 2019 at 12:05 am
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Herbal Powder / March 22, 2019 at 12:06 am
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