Over the past half-decade, Alex Cameron (and his good friend and business partner Roy Molloy) has become something of a cult figure. He (semi-ironically) represents the intentionally sleazy, sexy, well-groomed, well-dressed modern man who has a reach on nostalgia and is in touch with his feminine side. Or at least, that is what his “character” – which is now probably as close to the “real” Alex Cameron than ever – has become.
When he started, Cameron played an out-of-work, ageing, failed performer by donning plasticine make up and wearing slightly shoddy suits during his Jumping the Shark tour, playing to small nightclubs. He moved on to slightly larger venues, mocking toxic masculinity through performing as a jaded macho man on Forced Witness. He is a performer in the traditional sense, something we’ve lost in our hyper-aware modern society, and in a live setting, the whole package comes together.
So it a real joy to see Cameron playing his biggest UK headline show to date, to a passionate crowd who, as he acknowledges in the show, “every time you give it to us, we give it back, that’s a contract.” In a just world, Cameron should be a far bigger pop star, but the detail he puts into his work so often has flown over audiences’ heads in the past, so it’s great to see a highly receptive crowd, who keep up their love and energy along with the band all night. The noise the crowd make during opener ‘Bad for the Boys’ immediately proves everyone is in for a great night, and the band look genuinely humbled and proud.
Latest album Miami Memory, which Cameron has described as a gift to his partner Jemima Kirke – which he extends to the crowd tonight – takes up much of tonight’s set. Despite only being released a week and a half ago, the audience is more than willing to bark back most of the words to standout tracks ‘Divorce’ and ‘Stepdad’. Meanwhile, lead single and title-track ‘Miami Memory’ takes on a more subtle guise in comparison to its recorded, synth-heavy version. All the same, the song remains probably the sexiest thing recorded to tape this year and loses none of that in a live setting.
After Roy Molloy’s customary stool rating – a fixture of their shows – the band step up their energy to another gear. New touring guitarist Lilah Larson is a pleasure to watch all night, however, she completely nails Angel Olson‘s parts on their duet ‘Strangers Kiss’ to which the crowd goes crazy. From here, the final stretch, Cameron orchestrates over particularly rambunctious versions of latest single ‘Far From Born Again’ – his anthem for female sex-workers – and his early classic ‘The Comeback’.
In the encore, Cameron performs his biggest hit, ‘Runnin’ Out of Luck’ to send the ecstatic crowd happy and singing along to every word, though not before showing his appreciation once more. If Cameron’s latest album is a gift to his partner, he is a gift to us. A consummate entertainer and songwriter, he is a rare talent unlike many other, and tonight proves this in spades.