More often than not, I’ll use analogies about the business of media writing and/or music in service of a lede. Sometimes they’re warranted, but many times, they’re a stretch, but I am the master of my domain (see: this website), I’m endlessly amused by stretching thrulines to justify a narrative angle.
I’ve long been a fan of entertainment and the world surrounding, adjacent, and within it (why else would I have started this site?). I’m not sure if it’s due to a fascination with successes or with failures, or the psychological discrepancies between those who performers and those that don’t, or something totally out of mind, but entertainment has long been a boundless preoccupation of mine.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that something like a high concept (sort of) parody act would become some of my favorite acts on the touring circuit - Father John Misty, Neil Hamburger, MF Doom, etc. Anything that pulls out a new thread in the grand quilt that is the entertainment industry is a worthwhile endeavor in my mind.
But (like many ledes in the site), that is neither here nor there, as the matter at hand in this moment is strictly business. More specifically, the business of the grand sleaze Alex Cameron and his business associate Roy Molloy (aka “The Marvelous Mr. Crane”).
Alex Cameron is a high concept on paper, but in application, you’d be hard pressed to find any other act more “real” than the musical consul from Australia. Alex Cameron is a “man on a mission,” set off into the world to repay debts and spurn regret, all through the lens of music. Along the way, he’s managed to put out two excellent collections of music - Jumping the Shark, Forced Witness - going from streatside busking at SXSW to rubbing elbows with Brandon Flowers, and everything imaginable in between.
Which thus brings us to Alex Cameron’s most recent stop in Nashville. While it wasn’t their first stop in town - that would have been Ryman Auditorium back in early 2017, opening for Foster The People, just Alex and Roy - it was their first headlining gig. Originally slated to hit Nashville at The Basement sometime last September, the show was canceled due to “insufficient funds” (Roy’s words). Luckily, with the excellent reception brought on by Forced Witness, Al Cam and his associates were able to hit the (Basement) East Side with a little more vigor, panache, and cash in hand for one of the better shows in recent memory.
It was nothing but business from Alex Cameron and co, running through tunes with sleek ease we’ve come to expect from such sharp “business people.” Not wishing to spare words, when Al took the time to address his fawning audience, they listened. He imparted supreme wisdom when needed, like this tasty morsel leading into “Real Bad Looking” - “Looking good, feeling good, and being naturally good looking are three different things. Looking good is an attitude, you gotta be comfortable, then you feel good. This next song has nothing do do with being good looking, but feeling real good.” As the band took off into the tune, Alex took to his borderline iconoclastic cavorting, and Roy looked majestically onward, before diving into a sumptuous saxophone solo. Scenes such as these repeated throughout the evening, much to the joy of everyone in attendance. Mr. Molloy took a moment to present a stool review of his on-stage throne (3.5/5), and Cameron took many a moment to admire his stage mates - “You get a shower today Roy?” as well as the audience.
While many of Alex Cameron’s songs have taken to interacting with the underbelly of the entertainment world, strangers on the Internet, and other vagabonds, the Basement East was nothing short of teeming with bright and familiar warmth found only at the venue’s best shows, of which Alex Cameron and his business associates’ Nashville stop was one.