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March 12, 2018 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Alex Cameron in Wellington: Unexpected, Nonsensical, Groovy

Artist: Alex Cameron with Roy Molloy

Opening act: Jack Ladder

Latest album: Forced Witness

Venue: Meow

Rating: 5/5 groovy stars

Here’s the thing: the act shouldn’t make sense. Objectively, no one should like Alex Cameron. He plays the character of a sleaze. He looks like a deadbeat dad, with his slicked back hair, donning a wife beater under an unbuttoned half-sleeve orange shirt. To be completely honest, he looked like my ex. Yet, despite being innately unappealing to most audiences, the gig was ace. People of all ages showed up to see Cameron, an Australian synth-pop artist. There were hipster teens in Hawaiian shirts, normie young adults, middle aged divorced women, and couples of all ages.

Every person in the crowd was having fun. Everybody was dancing to their own beat – there was no right, wrong, normal, or abnormal way to groove. Never have I seen a performer with so much charisma and positive energy. There were five musicians onstage. Alex Cameron was the lead. Roy Molloy was the very silent and seemingly judgemental saxophonist (think substitute teacher who sets his chair in the middle of the class and says “I’ll wait,” in the most defeated and disappointed tone), an electric guitarist, who looked like a stereotypical math nerd; he wore square-rimmed glasses and a half-sleeve white checked shirt tucked into brown dad-pants. If every geek from Freaks and Geeks got together and created a middle-aged electric guitarist, he was it. Jack Ladder was the opener. If Fabio and Kevin Bacon got together to create a hybrid musician who was even more heartbroken and had even more luscious hair than the two, that would be Jack. When he was on stage, he was singing/crying into the mic, with a three-legged stool next to him on which sat a glass of red wine, his phone, and a moleskine notebook. Like, that’s how much of an absurd 80s heartthrob he was. The final musician was a keyboardist named Holiday Sidewinder. She was beautiful and powerful and so talented. She’s incomparable. I seriously think I’m in love.

Despite the full stage, Cameron was playing off the audience’s energy. He embodied what seemed to be a perfected act of a full-energy performer. He gave Wellington 150% of his energy and we gave it all back to him.

He talked about his album Forced Witness being an account of all sorts of characters, pointing fingers at issues like privilege and misogyny. The crowd favourite was Marlon Brando. Everyone seemed to know the words and were chanting the lyrics back to him. I’ve never experienced such a euphonic performance.

When the keyboardist and Cameron sang Stranger’s Kiss together, the audience were more engaged than ever. The artists were singing to each other and, to them, no one else existed. She sounded beautiful and he brought his grooviest moves.

The set included about 13 songs, and as soon as the act was over there were chants for an encore. When the musicians came back on, it was as if they never left. By this point of the show, everybody was sweaty. So sweaty that clothes were sticking to bodies. In such tight quarters, other people’s sweat merged with your own. Objectively, we should all have been annoyed. We should all have felt gross, but we weren’t. Everyone was grooving and nobody cared. The performance allowed for everyone to simply exist in the moment. It was the kind of gig where you just forgot to pull your phone out and send a snap to your friends. You forgot that there was a world beyond the venue. We all left knowing that we’d experienced something amazing, and we all left feeling beyond satisfied.

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