Camera Obscura have been charming North American fans of Belle and Sebastian-style pop music, and their show at Barrymore’s attracted a sellout crowd eager to see live that which before they could only experience on disc.

Camera Obscura’s touring companions and support act the Essex Green put on a superb set of their country-influenced sunshine pop. The band is blessed with a pair of excellent vocalists in Sasha Bell and Christopher Ziter, and a raft of strong material – particularly from their latest album, 'The Cannibal Sea' – to put them to use (they also threw in a Gram Parsons cover). With guitarist Jeff Baron weaving his way around his bandmates and bassist Julia Rydhom rocking out the group had a lively stage presence as well.

Then it was Camera Obscura’s turn. Their music as expected was beautiful, alternating the sweet and the sorrowful with aplomb. On the down side, the band was perhaps a little to faithful to the vibe of the recorded versions, and scored its only truly transcendent moment with a mournful version of 'Books Written for Girls' midway through the set.

The band seemed to be having a good time though, and the audience for the most part to be enchanted by the group (for some reason singer Tracyanne Campbell’s haircut came in for particular post-show praise).

While the show was a faithful and crowd-pleasing run through a well-chosen selection of tunes from their three albums, the part of the audience who arrived in time for the Essex Green would likely agree they stole some of Camera Obscura’s thunder.

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Commenting On: Barrymore's, Ottawa, 30/1/2007 - Camera Obscura and the Essex Green

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