By: George Chili
I was admittedly a little exhausted when I filed into the packed chambers of Thalia Hall. But even the bitter Chicago cold, and a near overdose of over-the-counter cough syrup, couldn’t stop me from going wild when Alex Cameron danced his way onstage, bleached eyebrows, makeup, and all.
Alex’s second EP, 2017’s “Forced Witness” brought him a new wave of success and created blistering anticipation for what would be next. In his latest album “Miami Memory,” Alex continues to masterfully craft driving pop ballads and hilariously written tales of sleazeballs, sexists, and the small catastrophes that occur in any loving relationship.
With Alex being so good at playing characters while also being so completely himself, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from his live show. I’m here to tell you that Alex is every bit as charismatic live as in everything he does. His opening hit “Bad for the Boys”, a dirge on the world’s smallest violin for old misogynists who are stuck in their ways, got the crowd moving instantly. Alex is absolutely electric onstage and it’s just plain fun seeing how much he enjoys what he does. The dude can dance it up. And if anybody wasn’t already dancing along, they definitely got to it when Alex blasted into one of the biggest singles from the new album; “Divorce”.
Alex didn’t shy away from any of his older material however. He followed the second song up with two of his biggest hits from “Forced Witness”, “Candy May” and “Country Figs”. Other highlights of the night included “Miami Memory” the title track from his latest album. Nothing brings a room full of people together quicker than singing “Eating your ass like an oyster” in a drunken blissful unison.
With a vocal powerhouse like Angel Olsen on the track “Stranger’s Kiss”, most people would shy away from trying to play it live without Olsen present. However, Cameron’s guitarist was more than qualified to fill Olsen’s spot. It was like hearing the heartfelt and soulful duet in an amazing new way. And the explosive sounds emanating from the sax of Alex’s friend and business partner Roy Molloy were the icing on the cake.
Not all the night’s hilarity was confined to the music. The crowd turned into a mob when Alex halted the show for an eloquent review of a stool by the man sitting on it; Roy Molloy. Every blurb of commentary on the make and comfort of the stool was followed by the deafening chant “Roy!!!! Roy!!! Roy!!!” from the crowd. It was like a toga party, but a bunch of Aussies commenting on a chair instead of drunk frat boys. For those who are curious, Roy gave the stool a 4.5/5 as he was kicked off of Google reviews for giving too many 5/5 reviews.
The night closed with the triumphant “Marlon Brando,” a lovelorn ballad from the perspective of the resident nightclub douchebag. It was a dramatic finisher to an amazing show.