I Am A Camera - Sebright Arms, London
It’s the voice that gets you. On record, Francesca Ross' vocals are a wonderfully fitting complement to the throbbing synths yet live, they become front-and-centre, Ian Watts’ synths setting the tone rather than providing the main hook. Tonight’s set at the Sebright Arms is about as far from showy as it gets, the duo – backed by a drummer – come on stage to little fanfare, storm through six slabs of electro pop/rock before swiftly departing. And yet, undeniably helped by a flawless delivery, we’re left with an unscratchable itch to hear more, rather than an irritation at the set’s brevity.
We’re willing to overlook the annoyance of people using phones at gigs as a quick glance at the chap’s phone to our right shows that, even if he might have just come along looking for a good time on a Friday night, he’s left by announcing his love of I Am Camera (due to an unfortunate error on the stage times) to his Facebook friends. And he’s not alone. A room that starts empty for the supports – that kind of empty where everyone’s too British to be the first person to go to the front of the stage – is heaving by the time the enigmatic duo appear, leading into the devastatingly beautiful opener ‘Without You’, Ross lit by a spotlight as she captivates before the backing kicks in.
Previous single ‘Factory Boys’ might be what drew the crowd to Bethnal Green tonight – and it’s duly delivered in stylish fashion as the penultimate effort – but the rest of the set impresses just as much; ‘Secret’s Safe’ in particular shows that the duo can let their hair down, the moody brilliance of the majority of their output giving way to an upbeat retro dance feel. Ultimately, the set is too short to gauge a complete opinion of just how far I Am A Camera can go, but as tasters go, it’s about as appetising as they come.