Self-admittedly, Cameron Avery has eclipsed all expectations of his musical career to date and that’s the kind of modesty we’ve become used to from the ex-Pond, Tame Impala bandmate. Launching his new direction to the world, Avery brought a stripped back, organic band reunion sentiment to a performance embodying a pair of singles and an ensuing album representing so much more.
When Slow Dancer unfurled his opening track, my gig-colleague and I entwined our minds into thinking we’d come across a Seagull indie folk affiliate. The pulsing yet contained guitar sections were just as memorable as Simon Okely’s chic, urbane control of the stage. His debut single Leave It To Me culminated in an affable guitar outro, nevertheless, given the lyrical strength of the set, the unencumbered instrumental sections on Slow Dancer’s records were few and far between.
It was as if Avery had seldom been on stage when he entered to play A Time and Place, such was his meek and beholden arrival. The first song from his forthcoming record Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams befitted the scene of his C’est Toi film clip with Avery invested in a romantic trial of patience fittingly never accelerating beyond first gear. A man of altruism and unpretentiousness; the size of the crowd didn’t matter to Avery, he was happy for the company. Nevertheless, before we subconsciously succumbed to his humility, the heartthrob’s privileged but unexposed jazz and blues nous revealed itself.
Big Town Girl followed – a portrait of lust and desire unearthing an emotional and dramatic side to the songwriter laid bare by his stage theatrics. When Avery’s fervent tenor wasn’t pulling audience heartstrings, his harmonica assumed the responsibility – first emerging in Growl sample Liarbird. Like a reawakening of a bygone era, assimilation and camaraderie welded itself between Avery and his Growl-supporting cast akin to a fruitful band practice reaching its conclusion. Avery promised stagecraft to make up for the absent strings omnipresent on the record and he delivered with guitar verve and climactic vocal reaches.
It was a performance of a rockstar, knowledgeable of his potential but not prepared to bloat it; something refreshing in the egocentric world we live in today.
By Tom Parker
Highlight: When Patrick Swayze came over Avery in Dance With Me.
Lowlight: Only one support act.
Crowd favourite: John the Revelator.