Real Live Action

Hidden Cameras

w/ Gentleman Reg & Wintermitts

Biltmore Cabaret; November 25, 2009

Review By Maxwell Maxwell

The Hidden Cameras put on one hell of a live show. Sure, the Ontario choir-poppers are known for their awesome back catalogue, but seeing them in concert is like having a three-way with Simon & Garfunkel in the back of a gold Rolls-Royce. [ed. Presumably that is a good thing.]

After a barrage of noise, the curtain rose to reveal Joel Gibb and his bandmates, wearing hooded ponchos which, combined with Gibb’s hypnotic stare, made the Hidden Cameras look like the house band for a devil-worshipping B-movie incest cult. Their set was, luckily, evenly divided between new and old material—the girl standing next to me mentioned she was planning on committing murder if they didn’t play “Boys of Melody.” “In The NA” was in the first quarter of the group’s set, which kept the audience engaged until the band brought out the songs from Mississauga Goddam and Smell Of Our Own which proved the high point of the concert (at least, until Gibb started the encore with a pants-shittingly good version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella”). They finished with a rowdy audience-participation version of “Music Is My Boyfriend” which literally dragged me onto the stage and thrust a tambourine in my hands.

Fellow Ontario native and touring opener Gentleman Reg was great too, although he doesn’t yet have the kind of ease with his material that the Hidden Cameras have developed after years of touring. He and his band delivered a tight, impressive set, concentrating mostly on material from his new album, Jet Black, and capped the performance off with an excellent rendition of his “Boyfriend Song.”

Local openers Wintermitts found it hard to compete with the headliners, although they managed an enjoyable (if timid) set. Their flute solo towards the end was cute, and if the band can develop a little more enthusiasm for their own material, they could definitely fill a venue like the Biltmore on their own.