A 'Good' Evening with the Cameras

The Hidden Cameras
Trinity-St.Paul's United Church
July 23, 2004
They can play shows in clubs to a sold-out crowd, but for the CD release
celebration of The Hidden Cameras' new collection of very gay, very hymnal
tunes, Joel Gibb and his mischievous orchestral army returned to their old
haunt--the church. And to please the mix of icy-cool hipsters and
monkey-dancing indie kids, the Cameras unleashed every track from the
excellent Mississauga Goddam disc and threw in a handful of favourites from
last year's breakthrough The Smell of Our Own. Oh, they even did something I
don't think I've ever witnessed: an honest-to-god, genuine encore.

Yes, the Cameras brought their usual bag of tricks: overhead projector to
display lyrics, blindfolds, yellow streamers (for the un-pee-shy "Golden
Streams") and head-bandaged, tighty-whitey-donning go-go dancers sexily
swaying at the sides of the altar. But they also came with an expanded
six-piece string section, a dozen-or-so-strong chorus section and for the
first time at a Cameras show, a harpist (Kristen Moss), using the
picturesque setting of intimate Trinity-St.Paul's to make the most out of
the quieter tracks off Goddam.

At first, things were a bit shaky--a wrong chord here, an unexpected
unplugging of a microphone there and it seemed that the huge group of
players struggled to get this great big act together. But the jovial
collective quickly tightened it up for the delicate "Builds the Bone" that
gloriously showcased Gibb's light-as-a-feather voice and the lush string
section which was especially cello-happy.

And though the usually raucous Cameras audience seemed to be a bit sedate
sitting in their pews--perhaps it was the holy setting--they eventually got
their groove going during the more upbeat numbers such as "In the Union of
Wine," "Bboy" and "Music is My Boyfriend." A mock bread-cutting ritual
performed by some spandex-suited dancers during the appropriately titled
"That's When the Ceremony Starts" drew amusing chuckles from both the crowd
and the members on stage.

By the last third of the show, most of the churchgoers were on their feet
(after encouragement from vibraphonist Maggie MacDonald and after Gibb
promised all the songs would be fast from thereon in). A fevered "Ban
Marriage" completely brought down the house, spurring the hipsters to dance
like muppets, while the long-time Cameras favourite "I Believe in the Good
of Life" closed the obligatory encore with an extended shout-along chorus of
fist-pumping "Hey!"s.

But the hometown crowd wanted more. The lights went down and those who
didn't believe in a spontaneous second encore exited; those who did,
however, waited and kept shouting for more to be finally treated to a
rollicking "Breathe On It" complete with cutesy hand actions.

Hey, maybe sometimes faith works.

Writer: Brian Wong

Photo:Brian Wong

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