Review | Camera Obscura @ Heaven, London

Camera Obscura live gig at Heaven

Is there a band more simultaneously joyous and mardy than Camera Obscura? We’re yet to find one, especially now that we’ve seen them live and in full gloom.

We’ve loved Camera Obscura’s sugar-coated melancholy for a good deal longer than ‘French Navy’ has been on that Echo Falls ad, so arrived at their gig at Heaven, London’s most pun-friendly venue, ready to go all bop-along fangirl on them. But following a perky opening courtesy of their new album’s pop-hit ‘Do It Again’, we settled into the cool, still waters of album tracks (albeit well-loved ones), and found ourselves zoning out a little.

Camera Obscura live gig at HeavenThe band are spot on, and Tracyanne Campbell’s voice is a dream, so it’s a shame the gig’s middle felt a wee bit flat. The atmosphere’s key contributing factors were likely to have been its weeknight, post-dinner timing and the warm fug of a room that is more used to being packed full of gyrating Britney fans than shuffly, satchel-ed indie kids.

But we all stuck it out, and it was way worth it. ‘Lloyd’ came along and the room gently crooned the chorus, and later ‘French Navy’ even caused some moves to ripple through the crowds. Camera Obscura are a glorious band in so many ways, but some of the bittersweet, tearing emotion from their big tracks was lost this time around. Though it hasn’t stopped us listening to the new album on repeat and scouring festival line-ups in hope of a twee headline slot. We’re not ready to be heartbroken.

Ashleigh Arnott