Pics by Josh Braybrook
Performing for Brunswick Music Festival, Alex Cameron made his return to Melbourne for the first time since 2018.
Brunswick Music Festival is earning itself a reputation for reviving under-utilised venues − in 2019, the historic Moreland Hotel was brought back to life alongside Melville Road’s Estonian House and the Mechanics Institute on the corner of Glenlyon Road and Sydney Road. In 2020, the Estonian House would return.
Walking into the beautiful circa-1940 theatre is a jaw-dropping experience. Yet that train of thought was immediately brought to a halt as soon as the man of the hour stepped on stage. You don’t always arrive at a show and feel an aura beaming at you from the stage but this show felt different.
Not all, but many of Cameron’s recorded tracks have a very obvious pop aesthetic. Right across his discography, the melodies are colourful and effervescent. Yet after seeing Cameron work the stage for only just a few minutes, the reason that this guy had a full-house two nights in a row became clear, his recordings might be the perfect laidback café soundtrack, but his performances are loud and wild − he’s a full-on rockstar.
Playing for just over an hour, Cameron burned through his set in the most electrifying way. It didn’t take very long at all for the crowd to transform into a mosh − enthusiastic and non-aggressive, singing along to just about every lyric, as encouraged by Cameron himself.
Before bursting into ‘Miami Memory’, one of the most anticipated songs of the evening, he said, “It’s not very often you can sing words like this in public and truly mean them”. And you best believe the words were bellowed. It was also one of the crowd’s finest singalong moments and it was at this point that Cameron, his band and his troupe had completely won this reviewer over.
Throughout the set, Cameron paused just long enough for the audience to catch their breath and wring their shirts dry, even clearing the stage for his right-hand man and saxophonist, Roy Molloy to deliver an edition of ‘Roy’s Reviews’ − an original skit in which he reviews his stool… leaving the audience in stitches.
To close the show, Cameron pumped out ‘Marlon Brando’ and the gig officially became a party.
As an artist, Alex Cameron seems to reinvent himself with each album he drops and it seems as if his live performances have only escalated in the best way possible, all the while remaining an utterly delightful on-stage enigma. If you can take anything away from this review, it’s that you’ll do yourself a favour and be at his next gig, front and centre. Why? Because they rarely make rockstars like Alex Cameron anymore.
Highlight: Seeing a guy leaving the gig, dripping with sweat from moshing so hard.
Lowlight: When the show ended.
Crowd favourite: Roy Molloy’s review of a Melbourne-made stool.