The Hidden Cameras are about to install themselves in Ottawa.
This powerhouse ensemble of horns, vocals, strings and, more often than not, go-go boys, is headed up by gay indie musician Joel Gibb and will be headlining at Westfest 2012.
Gibb does everything from the song-writing to the cover art and has put his quirky, queer stamp on the group from the get-go.
Although it has been active since 2001, Canadian shows by the self-professed “gay church folk music” group have become more of a rarity since Gibb moved to Berlin almost seven years ago. While the Hidden Cameras have put in appearances here and there over the past few years, this summer marks the group’s first Canadian tour since releasing Origin:Orphan, their acclaimed fifth CD, in 2009.
“Every time we tour Canada, we tour in November for some reason,” Gibb says, laughing. “So, I was like, we should do a summer tour of Canada. I think that would be a lot better.”
The tour kicks off in Ottawa at the city’s biggest outdoor multidisciplinary arts festival, Westfest, where the Hidden Cameras headline on the Friday night of the weekend-long event.
While Gibb is remaining pretty tightlipped about what he has planned for the Westfest show, he promises a fun romp for Ottawa fans.
“I’m planning a show. Some music. Some musicians. I’m going to sing and jump around,” Gibb says playfully. “We’ll do lots of different material. One new song, perhaps. Don’t really know what’s going to happen until we get there, but it’ll be a full band with some horns.”
This “new song” adds to the good news for fans of the group. Word is that Gibb has been writing and recording a new Hidden Cameras album that will be released sometime next year.
Other stops on the tour include Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Sudbury, Halifax and St John’s — where the Hidden Cameras will do a couple of shows.
“Once you get to St John’s, you have to play at least two shows because, you know, it takes two days to drive there,” Gibb says. “I would love to put on a show in New Brunswick, too. We don’t have a show there yet. Maybe we should go camping and play in the woods on our day off?”
Fans of Origin:Orphan will be excited to hear that the album has recently been made into a musical. In fact, a first version of the new show is hot off the presses, and Gibb is excited to find venues for it.
Outside of the upcoming tour, a CD in the works and the new musical that’s soon to be unleashed, Gibb is also busy with a new band, which debuted in April at the Camp/Anti-Camp festival in Berlin. The band’s first international gig will be at London’s Meltdown festival during the Olympics this summer.
“It’s a band with Vaginal Davis — a drag queen from LA,” Gibb says. “We just debuted, and we’re called Tenderloin. It’s Vag and me and two young German guys — a keyboard player and a bass player who plays guitar sometimes. I’m drumming in it and singing, and Vag is singing, too. We also taught her the glockenspiel, so hopefully she’ll play more glockenspiel. If you just type Tenderloin and Vaginal, it should come up.”
The new project will certainly make its way to our fair city at some point. In the meantime, Ottawa has a rockin’ gay dance party to look forward to.