The influence of Elvis Presley on his work was imminent the minute he opened his mouth.
Fans know him as the bassist of Tame Impala, but Cameron Avery took to the road to show the world his individualistic style. Solo shows are a rarity for the Australian-born rockstar, but on April 13, he concluded his four-gig tour with an intimate performance at the Berlin Club, on Avenue A in New York City. Avery promoted his upcoming solo album, which will be released in the coming weeks.
The 50-person crowd was eager with excitement to watch someone of his caliber perform right in front of them. Couches on one side of the stage, and a bar to the rear, the crowd became anxious, listening to the club’s stereo system playing throwback tunes. Soon after 9:30 p.m., the opener, Simon O’Connor, of the New York-based band Simon Doom, took the minuscule and circular stage. O’Connor, with his blond locks, plugged in his iPhone and started tuning his electric-acoustic guitar.
“Cam wanted me to play alone because the band is too loud,” he said. “The band is on my phone.”
It sounded like the band was present as O’Connor pressed play. As he played his reverb-sounding guitar along with the backing instrumentals, the audience got into it and started dancing along to his pop-punk-sounding songs off of their upcoming album, “Simon Doom EP.” The set consisted of songs such as “My Baby’s A Baby,” “Punk Problems” and “Psychedelic Privilege.”
A few minutes after O’Connor left the stage, with the ruby-tinted lights turned down low, Avery took his place and picked up his ebony-colored Epiphone guitar. Little did the crowd know, Avery was not about to rock out. His band consisted of two female background singers, a drummer and a keyboardist. The lights contributed to the mood of Avery’s performance.
Halfway through the set, Avery invited O’Connor to the stage to sing a duet. The pair simultaneously put on matching sunglasses, as well as the keyboardist. Both singers shared the same microphone. Throughout the show, the harmonies between Avery and his two female background singers really added to the soulful experience. The outfits of the background singers were similar to those of choir singers. Avery added in a spoken-word song that he wrote a couple of weeks prior called “Whoever Said Gamblin’s For Suckers.”
“You guys can come along for the ride if you would like,” he told the audience.
This was something different for Avery’s repertoire. Along the way, the Australian-born rockstar joked with the audience and kept them engaged.
To close the show, Avery gave a shout out to a male fan, Alex, who spoke to him before the show about an old collaborative album he put out. “This song is for Alex, thank you for listening to my old songs.” A harmonica exited his blazer pocket as he started to begin the old classic, “John the Revelator.” The blues-y sound of the instrument echoed throughout the room. The united audience recognized the classic and sang along in a call-and-response to “Who’s out there writin’?” (“John the Revelator!”)
As a whole, the audience left with a look of awe on their faces. They were thrilled to see someone as famous as Avery up close and personal. After the show, it was exciting to see Avery take the time to chat with fans who wanted to meet one of their musical idols. At the end of the day, rockstars are people, too.