First, an apology. It was only afterwards that I realised I HAD spotted Mike from Troubled Diva but hadn't properly associated the physical being with his onscreen image. Probably not helped by the fact that I was basing it largely on his video-podcast (or Trodicast TM). Can I just say, the video does not do justice to his handsome visage and demeanor? Poor bloke; I did keep glancing over at what I now am convinced were Mike and K but neither my recognition skills nor my gumption were sufficient to convince me till afterwards that it really was them. Doh.*
That apology though probably DOES need some clarifying as I don't want to come across as a total idiot (though I often can be). Let me explain to those unaware that The Social in Nottingham is VERY VERY small. I mean, like, TINY. Okay, I was wearing stripey socks but I think I would have needed to be about 8 foot tall with a big sign saying "stripey Rullsenberg here" over my head AND disproportionately long legs. To say it was packed would be an understatement. By Camera Obscura's own admission we all looked "uncomfortable". You ain't kidding. They also said it was probably hotter in there than it had been "Texas, no, actually Tuscon Arizona". Thanks. We all felt a lot cooler (intellectually) for know that if not (physically) cooler!
Seriously though, it was MEGA hot and since, as is often the case at gigs, no one forces a policy of majorly tall people must stand nearer the back and let short girlies and boys get closer to actually, like, SEE SOMETHING, it was also something of an obscured vision-fest. A shame, as I rather love looking at the earnestly luscious Carey, but she was severely buried behind the speakers and her keyboards. Still, I did get to see her afterwards as I went to buy The Tiny CD and persuaded passing Camera Obscura fans of the virtues of the yellow "Let's Get Out of This Country" T-shirt.
Anyway! To the matter in hand.
Support was ably provided by The Tiny. Ah, they were lovely. Theramins, strings, and ethereal vocals. Wonderful stuff. Ellekari, Leo and Johan brought together some eclectic sounds and seduced the audience beautifully. Incredibly they had no where to stay in Nottingham (it was the final night of the tour), but as soon as sweet Ellekari mentioned this, they were inundated with offers: something these Swedes were clearly taken aback by!
Still, given that we were stuck towards the back of the venue for the support act, there was far too much ambient noise and conversation going on as people moved to and fro through the heaving crowds to the bar. So when The Tiny finished their set, we ploughed forward to stake a claim towards the rear/middle of the in-front of stage 'space'. Although far too many tall blokes still insisted on trying to get in front of us, it was reasonably okay there, and at least I could see Tracyanne.
By the time the intro song of "Stand By Your Man" blasted through the sound system to announce the imminent arrival of the band, everyone was well stoked up and it was about 9.50pm. Yes, yes George, I know that in Scotland you're lucky if the first of two support acts has started by then, but this is England. Grrr. Still, it heralded the start of a great set full of new stuff - a majority of the new album - and some old stuff. There was some great banter (including Kenny telling the tale of TracyaAnne confusing Gothenburg with the home of Batman: "but of course everyone knows that's where Spideman comes from..."), some sweet announcements (Nigel is about to become a dad for the first time so will be taking some time away from the band - cue huge cheers), and of course the usual apologies about the equipment and being prepared ("most of us haven't got set lists!"). There were several reminiscences of previous performances in Nottingham - why couldn't they have had either the Rescue Rooms or Rock City?! They would have easily sold one of those out! - including fond thanks to one girl from the front of the audience who, at the last Nottingham gig, had rescued TracyAnne's dying vocal ability due to illness by gamely getting up to sing as subsitute vocalist on "Eighties Fan". Blimey.
So, all in all it was a cracking gig. Fey Scottish pop they may be, but they are a wonderful live band as well. And it was nice to see them with their own instruments!
* Just had horrid thought. I really hope that at least my retrospective recognition was correct or else I kept glancing at some random blokes and have misidentified completely our very own Troubled Diva....