Tuesday, February 27th
What can you expect from a performance by an artist whose persona is performance unto itself? Once upon a time, the Alex Cameron alter ego donned silicone pockmarks and sang his ballads about bums, perverts and losers, karaoke-style. To tour his latest album, Forced Witness, he has traded in his fake face for a five-piece band. Tuesday night’s show at The Imperial was a departure from his original act but a self-aware performance nonetheless.
The band slid straight into “Studmuffin96” without introduction. Their ’80s synth-pop floated Cameron’s warm baritone into a sea of super-fans. Cameron vows their concerts have a “strict no judgement policy” and the concertgoers reveled in the positive neon energy all night, emulating the frontman’s pervy-uncle dance moves and singing along about all the saddos meeting teens online or leaving their kids in the car.
Alex Cameron delivered upbeat irony in technicolour. Cameron’s “friend and business partner” Roy Malloy relaxed on a stool, standing on occasion to howl his resplendent saxophone into the waves. During “Happy Ending”, Holiday Sidewinder, our platinum-blonde leather-clad heroine, punched the keyboard with a single hand so she could drink her gin and tonic. One could taste flavours of David Lynch as the blue lights shone down upon their absurd display of ambivalence.
Cameron and Malloy punctuated songs with heartfelt and humorous preambles. Before finishing with “Marlon Brando”, they shared a mission statement of sorts—”we felt as straight white males we should investigate the condition of the straight white male”. A voice from the back answered, “about time!”
The concert offered a space for characters often ignored in popular music to be contemplated, not denied. As a self-proclaimed spokesperson for the failures in society, Alex Cameron has certainly found success.