Hidden Cameras - 07/13/05 Cambridge, MA

By james

The Hidden Cameras were fucking STUNNING last night.

Now, I've seen em 9 times and they've never been anything less than spectacular, but something about last night's show pushed it to the next level.

Maybe it was the set list. The mix of brand spankin new songs, kinda new songs, and the right mix of oldies - including a few from "Smell of Our Own" that I haven't seen aired in a while - that just hit the crowd right. Maybe it was the crowd - from the word go, everyone was dancing and singing along having a grand ol' time. Maybe it was the energy level of the band themselves - they had travelled from Toronto to Boston that day and encountered all kinds of troubles, so they were playing to make the show worth it, dammit. And boy, was it ever.

Worms Cannot Walk, Nor Can They Swim
Builds the Bone
Boys of Melody
Fear is On
Fear of Zine Failure
Animals of Prey
In the Union of Wine
Ban Marriage
I Want Another Enema
Day is Dawning
Learning the Lie
For Fun
Smells Like Happiness
Music is My Boyfriend

I had a very nice chat with Maggie [bandleader] and Will [tour manager] at the merch booth before the show, during which the setlist was delivered. I asked if 'No Gay Goth Scene' was going to be making an appearance, and Maggie said no, but seemed excited about the idea of playing it - apparently it's one of the band's favorites - and said she'd run it by Joel, but if they didn't do it tonight they'd do it next time they knew I'd be in the audience. It obviously didn't make an appearance, but can't win em all. I'd never heard the full band arrangement of 'Worms' before - it was really good and had a fantastic pizzicatto string part during the chorus. Maybe we'll see it on "Awoo" next Spring? It was fantastic to hear 'Boys of Melody' again - one of my favorites, so beautiful - and the reappearance of 'Day is Dawning' was a nice surprise, especially when it developed into a maelstrom of pure white noise before melting into an incredibly high energy version of 'Learning the Lie'. In fact, starting with 'Ban Marriage', the rest of the set was possibly the highest energy I've seen the band and crowd get out of each other, especially during the sing/shout along for 'I Want Another Enema'.

A couple of new ones I had never heard before at the end of the set - '!!!HEJI!!!', as in "hey!", is an odd one. It starts with Joel playing on the wrong side of the pick ups before shouting "HEY!" and the whole band jumps into an extremely poppy instrumental. After a little bit, Joel shouts "HEY!" again, and it's back to the wrong side of the pick ups as the band freezes. This repeats a few times before the loud part just goes on and on, no words, just band and crowd dancing along. Not sure how it would work on an album, but it's the perfect live song. 'For Fun' was the other new one - though it sounded REALLY familiar, they might have done it in Ithaca last fall - and I remember liking it, but not too much as to what it sounded like. My second hearing of 'Lollipop', and it's another one that's a punishing live track, but there's not really much to it so I'm not sure how the recorded version is going to go. Picked up a copy of the "Learning the Lie" double 7" at the show, so we'll find out soon.

It was nice to not get the full run of "Mississauga Goddam" this time. Don't get me wrong, love the album and love hearing the songs live, but I loved hearing some of the neglected "Smell of Our Own" gems in the place of 'Mississauga Goddam' or 'I Believe in the Good of Life' or especially 'We Oh We' again. I really hope we get 'Awoo' soon - it's stuck in my head.