Alex Cameron


Alex Cameron’s gigs feel like novels. Without doubt one of the best lyricists and storytellers in music at the moment, you spend the time watching him and his band as well as watching his stories unfold in your mind’s eye. A sign of good writing is that you can see everything that is being spoken about, and with Alex Cameron, you can do just that.

Bumped up from the Deaf Institute to Gorilla due to demand, the performance on December 6 is Alex Cameron, Roy Molloy et al at their finest. Bolstered by a live band which includes a bassist, drummer and synths, the songs take on a new life from what they are on record, and the result is, at times, exultant.

The set starts with two of Cameron’s best – a double of ‘Happy Ending’ followed by ‘Real Bad Looking’. The latter really benefits from live drums, and Cameron’s quality as a frontman is apparent from the off. His already well-known dancing style makes him constantly interesting to watch, and he doesn’t miss a note all night. Next up is another highlight from the debut record in ‘The Comeback’, before saxophone player and ‘business partner’ Roy Malloy takes over the mic to review his stool.

Yes, that’s right. While the rest of the band get ready to play some more material, the saxophone player – rapidly becoming a sensation in his own right due to his dry sense of humour, reviews the stool on which he has been sitting during the gig. It gets 3.5 stars out of 5. A good score.

Every solo of Malloy’s is greeted by exuberant cheers from the audience, but every bit the opposite to Cameron’s charismatic stage presence, Malloy remains expressionless and stares ahead, for the whole gig.

And that is what made this evening so fascinating. The band are a joy to watch in all areas. Synth player – and owner of a brilliant name – Holiday Sidewinder is like Cameron’s partner-in-dance. She mirrors his enthusiasm, but manages to do so with an effortless cool to counter Cameron’s sincerity and enthusiasm.

Material from the band’s recent second album Forced Witness go down a treat, with most of the words sung along to. ‘The Chihuahua’ is a highlight, with fantastic bass line, and singles ‘Stranger’s Kiss’ and ‘Candy May’ rightfully get elated response.

The greatest transformation of song from record to live setting was ‘Taking Care of Business’. A slow builder, it swelled into a massive sound by the end. As usual, the lyrics were poignant, and the band did the tragic-comic story justice my making the performance of the song a genuine event.

All in all this was a fantastic gig. The sound was spot-on, meaning everything could be heard and the intricacies of the songs enjoyed as much as the big moments. Most importantly, everybody just had fun, including the band. Alex Cameron promised to be “back before you know it.”

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Lloyd Bent

Manchester born radio-dabbler who burrows away under record and book collections whenever possible. Has interest in an eclectic variety of music, perhaps most significantly funk, post-punk and the more underground indie. Harbors ambitions to be a full-time writer, currently studies at Uni, works as a radio DJ and runs Indie DJ nights in the bars every now and again. Plays and attends gigs all over the place, but preferably in Manchester where independent venues are both commonly found and reliably fantastic.