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 Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour

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Dr K

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PostSubject: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:14 am

Charles Dickens once wrote 'it was the best of times , it was the worst of times'. I would say the same about the crowd at a Camera Obscura gig - they are the best of fans and the worst of fans. Camera Obscura fans are the weirdest fans in the world. Let me elaborate.

1. Nobody dances! How can you stand in a crowd of several hundred people listening to the best band in the world playing 'Suspended from class' et al and stand about like a statue? Yes people sway and nod and foot tap and look very concentrated but there is no wild abandon that you would see at other gigs. I bet CO fans give it some welly in the privacy of their own front room or bedroom but not in public. Oh no!

2. They disapprove! At any gig you will have dickheads at the bar talking/shouting in loud voices who don't even know who the band are. At any normal gig, the fans just ignore these peabrains. At a Camera Obscura gig, the fans turn round and tell the dickheads to 'shush' and be quiet. Or even worse give them the Paddington 'very hard stare' of disapproval.

3. They apologizes to the band! Camera Obscura fans feel personally responsible for the behaviour of every person at the gig when Camera Obscura come to town. If someone misbehaves (talks! doesn't switch their mobile off! slurps their drink! eats popcorn! lets their attention wander!) the CO fan will give them the 'hard stare' and afterwards offer profuse apologies to the band - by twitter, post or e-mail. They apologizes on behalf of their city and their country. They condemn the mis-behavers. They implore CO to come back soon and promise that the next time the crowd will behave impeccably.

As I said Camera Obscura fans are the best of fans, which makes them the worst of fans. They create an atmosphere of intense anxiety, they are so desperate for the band to succeed. They cluck around like a mother hen, feeling responsible for every eventuality at the gig - the size of the venue, the shape of the venue, the sound quality, the dress sense of the crowd. They are offended by bad haircuts and inappropriate clothing.

I think this is weird - but in a strange way also admirable and touching. Does anybody else think this? I can't imagine any other band with such 'concerned' fans except perhaps the Smiths. Did Moz fans behave like this in the eighties? I genuinely think there is a sociology PhD in this. Has anyone else observed this strange phenomenon.

Dr K

p.s. just checking - 'my maudlin career' is an ironic pun by the delectable Ms. Campbell on 'mah modellin' career' in a glaswegian accent, right?
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Hogs

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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:25 am

I find this very interesting. I've not seen Camera Obscura (December first will be my first time-dead excited about it!) but I've never seen anything like that at other shows...granted, most of my previous shows were punk shows, but still...

As it is, people in the States rarely dance, however I wonder if the "mother hen" behaviour you describe will translate across the Atlantic, or if it's more a European thing? I suppose we'll see.
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Big Julie

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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:52 am

Dr K wrote:


1. Nobody dances! How can you stand in a crowd of several hundred people listening to the best band in the world playing 'Suspended from class' et al and stand about like a statue? Yes people sway and nod and foot tap and look very concentrated but there is no wild abandon that you would see at other gigs. I bet CO fans give it some welly in the privacy of their own front room or bedroom but not in public. Oh no!

Not in my experience. I saw them in Stockholm on a saturday night recently and the crowd was dancing and jumping all over the place, could be because it was a club gig on a saturday though. In general indie fans can be a bit stiff, but the best way is to just ignore the rest of the crowd and dance your heart out. Maybe they're just a bit shy?
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graeme
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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:51 am

very very interesting Dr K,i read your thesis of a camera obscura crowd and no doubt i will have to read it again...i dont know what its about,i think the overview is that camera obscura fans are precious about them there 5/6 people up on the stage..erm not particulary shakin there stuff either...cept for francois and carey to a degree...i dont dance a c/o gigs,i am interested in the songs,the instruments and rarely look behind me.........there really arn`t that many fans right now,specially in the uk,which made it an interestin jaunt to europe last week.....when i go to see camera obscura it is a highlight for me,i love music and this band especially..i saw the smiths plenty of times,an there is a element of these are"my"band that some tag to a group...in the hope the band get big,but not too big......it was touched upon recently in here somewhere..that venue size is important......i personally wish them as many fans as they can get,hence in a small way i started this forum...so people could spread the word some.....i`ve seen the band play to 60 people,just 2 years ago....even leicester recently..no big gang of fans(i wasn`t there but matty was)it made me think of the new single,and how honey in the sun turned to sweetest thing.......listen to the places in the song,america is where the band are concentrating their efforts.....i wish them million sales and finacial stabilty......again its bin mentioned here recently,there is a fine balance between art and business.....i have a few bands that i promote to the people who will listen,some get it some don`t...i started listenin to camera obscura because of 3 people,dave,nick and geoff.....i support them through my pocket as well...which is what i`m talkin bout here....i have spoken to various members of the band but they are not my mates?they are generous,open and accessible normally..its bin mentioned that they have been a bit evasive recently...but it aint an easy job they do......i once felt responsible for tracyanne`s tin of stuff goin missin off stage...erm not cos i took it,because i saw the bint take it.....i replaced it as a gift at a later date,best i could.......it was just a gesture......i like what your sayin though,and nice to have you at the site......i rarely hear tuttin or see wrist slappin,but as i said i don`t turn around much...the sound is important to me,just as it is to the band,this is their craft,their job,the sound is quite important....when i was leavin the paris gig a girl said to her fella"you could come as a dandy too!"she didn`t know i was english..i was wearin a hardy amies 1960`s suit....thats all....people are loquacious(sp) sometimes,i made a joke of it,why would i take it to heart.....noises at shows always happen....snobbery to a degree....we must share this band for their own good...nice post ...

i don`t do crowds-camera obscura

p.s was this at one particular gig or several??

maudlin is a play on words....
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tonybolony

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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:02 am

i think i can see what you mean - best of fans n worst... the show i've been to, folks did dance around tho somewhat subdued i s'pose. an there was the crowd front and centre that did most of the dancin with a mix of a few dancin amidst the "horseshoe" crowd of swayin statues.. but really, the only time i DO see lots of dancin is when theres lots of drunk folk at a festival seeing a punkish or rock band. as was said, its like the indie fans are trying their damndest to catch every note and every chorus - an get drunk off of the music in a way.. to be honest, i dont recall if i danced or not (usually a dancin idiot..) but i do remember being pretty intent on the show.
tony
ps. i was lucky enough to not have any shouting drunks who didnt know who the band were at the only show i'be been to (..so far)
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paul



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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:28 pm

The few Steely Dan concerts I've been to were similar to your experience Dr K. Before and after the show, the fans are the typical drunk, dancing, off-key croon crazy fanatics you'd expect. But during the show, it might as well be a performance of Handel's Messiah. The crowd has almost a holy reverence for the stage and music, and if people complain about Walter Becker in the toilet, the internet fans will bitch about those people after. I'd expect if the band didn't keep themselves COMPELTELY inaccessible to the fanbase, there'd be apologies and so forth for the unruly bunch like there are to Camera Obscura. It's odd but great a great atmosphere to get fantastic quality bootlegs!
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Pete

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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:23 pm

Howdy Dr K

I've been scratching my head with this post all day and have read it quite a few times now.

Not really sure what the main thrust of the post is ? It seems a bit of a generalisation about CO fans but from the gigs I've been to, the audience don't seem to be that differant to any other band I've seen, with the exception there is no moshpit. But they are hardly a moshpit type of band. I think it tends to be a very appreciative audience, dare I say, slightly mature, that is, music fans who really just want to listen and really take in the music. There were a few couples dancing at the Berlin gig, and there was plenty of bopping at T in the Park. I'll be interested to see what the Barrowland gig is like - this place is reknowned for the reception bands get, and I would challenge anyone and any band to suggest anywhere better.

As far as Moz and the Smiths go, I can't think of any band that had fans of such out and out obsessive devotion. Even to this day I have grown up friends that hang to every word Moz has to say. They are not elitest in any way, just completely besotted with all things Smiths/Moz. I'd compare it to those girls you occasionally see on TV screaming and crying at the Beatles gigs in the 60's. Grown up unhinged men throwing themselves on stage to touch "the man". Completely beyond my comprehension.

The only CO fans I know are here are on this site, they seem like a pretty well balanced group and more than just CO fans, they seem to really dig music in general. Although it take a special person to dress up in a suit to go and see a gig - what a dandy Graeme - you kept that on the QT Razz My firends appreciate good music and have come along to 3 gigs since I "discovered" how good CO were this only just Summer - we all have differant tastes in music but have generally agree CO are a fantastic gig. CO are a differant band now, on the go since 96 or something but it feels like they are only starting out and gaining momentum now. For me to not know about CO until this year confuses everyone I know when I tell them I only came upon them this year and they've being going for well over a decade.

If I'd paid money to see any band and some guys were at the bar getting laced and not giving a fook about the band I'd be pretty pissed too if its was interfering with my own personal enjoyment of the gig. I'm a lover not a fighter so would be loathe to say anything.

But what confuses me, is that CO produce such a 3D large dynamic wall of sound, I can't think a situation where some guys at the bar could overcome this, unless it was a really quiet number like say for instance James.

Nope. I can keep typing here, but with respect, I just don't get what you are suggesting with this post.

All the best


Pete
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derek

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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:45 pm

Well... if you get up front and are around all of the Obscura-heads, then there is usually a lot of dancing / swaying / singing along. I've never found the crowds to be too crazy reverent to the band. There are usually a few uptight jerks that don't want anyone to have a good time. I've been known to take some flack for being a little too raucous during the shows and for chatting with the band between songs.. but it's always seemed to me that the band likes a bit of energy out there.

A lot of things depend on the city you see them in too... Like Boston are a bunch of zombies. You can hear a pin drop between songs. And during the songs everyone just stands there silently. Needless to say... I didn't mesh well with the Mass-holes. Philadelphia has the best crowds probably. Seems like big CO fans who like to dance, have a few drinks, sing along and enjoy themselves. NYC seems to usually have a good crowd in the front, but a bunch of snobs in the back.

I pretty much treat the CO gigs as a celebration. Me and pretty much everyone around me knows all these songs. We've heard them a million times. I'm not caring so much about hearing every note as much as feeling the groove with 500 of my closest friends. Of course, I do love the little live embellishments that they do... Tracyanne seems to really play up her accent for the American crowds. But these are moments of joy and positivity, and the audience should really be having a ball. And for the post part (aside from Boston crowds, blech!) the crowds seem very into the band and having a great time.
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PostSubject: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:12 pm

Evening all - I saw C.O. for the first time at Exeter on Saturday - at first I found the crowd far too polite and restrained (I'm used to football crowds and drum n bass nights) - but when Tracyanne began to cast her spell I realised that C.O. gigs are a unique experience - the band are so involved in the music which draws in the audience and creates a wonderful sensation of a shared experience (the only blot on an otherwise perfect night was when a well-meaning audience member shouted out "smile" at one point - Tracyanne soon put her in her place).
I only got into C.O. through the Maudlin Career album but I'm now acquiring all the back catalogue as fast as possible - I was always a John Peel fanatic but for some reason I never picked up on C.O. before - I must have been having another phase. I managed to pinch one of the printed set-lists off the stage at the end of the gig so I'm using that as my shopping list for starters. Tracyanne should be far more acclaimed than she already is...maybe this is the breakthrough moment - The Sweetest Thing should be a successful single and then follow it up with Honey in the Sun for good measure. I can't wait to see them perform live again - living in Cornwall makes most venues a bit tricky to get to but I'll make the effort to repeat a night like last Saturday (I took 4 teenagers in the car with me and they're all new converts to Camera Obscura). Razzle Dazzle indeed...
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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:27 am

interestin enough - came across this tidbit the other day and thought of it again as i read these posts...
Quote :
Tracyanne Campbell handled the rude talkers with grace by changing up the lyrics to "Books Written for Girls". Instead of:

People get shocked in many ways
I disappoint you
I can't see through your perfect smile
She sang:
People are rude in so many ways [or something to that effect]
They disappoint me
When they talk through my perfect song
...to which the quieter fans in the audience enthusiastically applauded

was found on a blog back in '07..
tony
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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:55 am

Well, I was at CO gig at the barrowlands recently. On one of the songs she was singing, she forgot the lyrics to a verse. At the end of the song Tracyanne apoligised she was tired etc. I jokingly shouted out "Aye, aye excuses".

F**k me. It went down like a led balloon. Was expecting a chuckle at least....I did get a few 'hard' stares from the crowd. Wish the floor would have opened up and swallowed me(and then fall through to a barras stall below into a cushion of sports socks Wink )

Where would Glasgow be without humour?!
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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:28 am

just imagine givin edwyn collins stick,when orange juice were at their prime....well i did for sure,you got summit back ouch twice as hard,funny shows like.......i haven`t noticed this about the c/o crowd before,but it seems to be mentioned a lot..i`m a bit of a gob like,and bantered with the band many times.....they are dead on their feet though,i`ll give her that.................when country mile was on the advert for tesco* ??it was often referred to, as a heckle and the hint of them "selling out"...i remember tracyanne sayin to one gobshite"what would you rather us do work at tesco`s or let them use our tunes?"

*thats walmart** for our american/canadian and other foreign viewers.......

**nope asda is walmart but you get me drift...............
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PostSubject: Re: Camera Obscura Crowd Behaviour   Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:30 pm

I was at the Barrowlands show right down the front to be honest I don't take any notice of anybody around me bar my friends and the band. People pay their money I suppose they can do what they want in reason . I personally don't want to talk through a gig but usually if you're near the front then it's people that are there for the music so it's all good.
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