When the debut album from Tracyanne Campbell and Danny Coughlan was announced, it immediately went into my calendar. While I didn’t really know Coughlan, I’ve been such a fan of Campbell for the past decade or so that he could’ve been a circus clown for all I cared. Turns out he’s a great songwriter and his group Crybaby has some tunes on Spotify you can check out. In fact, my favorite song on the new album is a Coughlan track called “Jacqueline.”
The tour was announced and I knew I’d be going even though the record wasn’t out yet. Somehow it came out May 25th, less than a month ago, and I think I’ve probably heard it a thousand times already-it’s ridiculously listenable so you can just set it on repeat and have yourself a nice day.
They hit the stage at Lincoln Hall in almost-matching outfits. They both had horizontal stripes, with Danny in orange and Tracyanne more red. It was a small and subtle nod to their throwback musical style. They launched into “Baby’s Got It Bad,” a 7″ single that came with the vinyl if you pre-ordered last month.
After that they burned through a mixed up version of the record with “Anybody Else,” “Honeymooners,” and “Deep In The Night” at the top. They interjected some good stories throughout the show. Tracyanne told the story of being in holiday and running into her ex-boyfriend and his new wife which led to “Honeymooners.”
That one was a little more heartbreaking than the hilarious description Danny gave of the Lisa that is the subject of “Cellophane Girl.” Face tattoos, a glass eye, I think there was a wooden leg in there…sounds like a lovely girl. Tracyanne pointed out that his story gets more and more absurd every night, so the people seeing them tonight in Minneapolis are going to get a truly epic tale.
Banter is all well and good, and this was better than average banter, but what really matters is the songs. On that level they delivered and then some. While I heard some around me wondering aloud if they’d do any Camera Obscura songs, I was happy to enjoy the new collection of tunes. Coughlan’s Crybaby wasn’t too far off of Camera Obscura musically, so the pair are making music that certainly falls in the same category. You get hints of “French Navy” in the song “Alabama,” and I can hear some similarities to other songs in the Camera Obscura catalogue, so hopefully that satisfies those that were expecting to hear old favorites.
To “pad it out” as they say, Tracyanne and Danny led their band through a great version of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End.” It’s been done by a lot of great artists-Beck, Wilco, even my secretly favorite group Mates Of State. This live version at Lincoln Hall was particularly good. Maybe because the feel of the song is so different from what Tracyanne and Danny do, or maybe because they love the song so much and treat it with such adoration.
The set was breezier than I expected. The two singers seem to have a great chemistry and the backing band they play with is terrific. And with only 11 originals to play, there was no chance of overstaying their welcome. When it was all over they came out to the lobby and met with a whole lot of people who wanted to thank them for their work. The concert was about an hour and I’d say they were shaking hands and taking photos with people for another 30 minutes or so.
They even let me take their picture, which was super sweet of them because I’m sure they were tired and ready to move on to the next gig. Many thanks all around and I can’t wait til they come to town again!