THE HIDDEN CAMERAS as part of SummerWorks at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington), tonight and tomorrow (August 5 and 6), 10 pm, all ages. $10 advance. rotate.com.
If ever a band was suited to play a theatre festival, it's the Hidden Cameras. Since their early 00s inception, Joel Gibb's queer pop collective has made performance integral to their aesthetic, effectively blurring the lines between art, music and drama. SummerWorks gives the band an opportunity to do what it does best: everything at once.
"What I like about having a band is that it's a chance to explore many different mediums, not just music," says Gibb over the phone en route to a rare solo gig in Montreal. "I try to employ as many aspects of that as I can, whether it's dance, album art, video or whatever else I can think of."
Gibb will use the Cameras' two-night SummerWorks headlining slot as an opportunity to expand farther into theatrical territory, a tall order for a band whose shows regularly include choreography, costumes and props.
The performance is being billed as a "dramatic re-imagining" of their latest record, Origin:Orphan (Arts & Crafts), but the intricately orchestrated album will provide a loose framework rather than a strict track-for-track prescription. Songs will be resequenced, rearranged and remixed, allowing the recorded material to take a back seat to multimedia spectacle, a perfect antidote to run-of-the-mill bar and club shows.
"I've been meeting with this amazing projectionist who will concoct some stuff to go along with the music," Gibb reveals. "And I've put together a cast of performers and singers to add a dramatic element. I can't tell you much beyond that."
It's not that Gibb is unwilling to reveal his secrets; he just doesn't know what they are yet. Currently stationed in Berlin, the Toronto native couldn't get home in time to launch a full production. As a result, the SummerWorks shows will act as a pair of on-the-fly workshops rather than performances of a polished, fully realized piece.
"This is our first chance to see how the music lends itself to this kind of production," says Gibb. "But I can say that if it works, then it will definitely inform something that comes later. This is more like a sneak peek at the project in its infancy.
"There's a lot left to plan, but I can promise you this: it'll be a spectacular Hidden Cameras experience."