5:30 p.m. Off work. Need to fuel up on tacos and booze, and get ready to dance.
This was my state of mind heading into last Thursday as I made my way to the first of two Alex Cameron shows on consecutive nights at the Lodge Room in Highland Park. Cameron, coming off the release of his acclaimed sophomore album Forced Witness – also my #1 album of 2017 – has become somewhat of a trending topic in the current indie landscape. Performing a mix of old and new tracks, he and his bandmates left it all out on the stage, proving the Australian singer’s worthiness as one of the internet’s favorite new pop-rockers.
His crew set the tone for the night right off the bat, opening with “Studmuffin96”, a smooth ballad about being in love with a minor. It sounds appalling, but for everyone in the Lodge Room on Thursday night and so many other fans around the globe, the low-life sense of humor that lives in each of Alex Cameron’s songs is part of what separates him from other rock artists. He also nailed the performances of “True Lies”, a romantic spin on being catfished, as well as the hilarious, yet beautiful, break up song “Stranger’s Kiss.”
I was slightly bummed that “Country Figs” didn’t make the set list, being that is was probably my favorite anthem from the last album, but the song’s absence didn’t take away from the energy of the performance. I also left the show with a greater appreciation for Cameron’s debut album Jumping the Shark. While Forced Witness reached new heights in songwriting and (in my opinion) is easily the better album, Jumping the Shark is essential to understanding Cameron’s artistic persona. It’s also got some really enjoyable singles, most notably “Take Care of Business”, which made an epic closer to a fun concert.
This review would not be complete without a nod to Roy Molloy, Cameron’s saxophonist and business partner. His contributions to Forced Witness are some of my favorite moments on the whole record, especially “Stranger’s Kiss.” I can’t decide what I enjoyed more that night though, the awesome sax or the epic review he gave to the stool he was sitting on. Either way, he’s bound to become one of the more beloved sidemen in indie rock as these guys continue to grow their audience.
Alongside all the laughs and jokes, Al Cameron is an artist with a penchant for crafting infectious songs. His music is pure entertainment genius, from the melodies and hooks to the irresistible dance grooves. There’s a reason this guy has been endorsed by Russell Crowe and The Killers. His appearance and quirky dance moves may scream ‘stuck in the ‘80s’, but listen to his last record and you’ll find yourself buying into the magic. Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket to his next gig near you, because he is every bit the entertainer that his tunes and his memes make him out to be.