Cameron Avery @ The Black Bear Lodge

Crooning love songs that caress your ears

Cameron Avery, of The Growl, Tame Impala and Pond fame, is by his own admission, a “big sook”. Playing at Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane, with dimmed lights and just a piano and guitar for company he rides the line between uncomfortable in the spotlight and a showman for the intimate crowd.

Brisbane local J.B Paterson opened the night to a smaller crowd, with his 'Bob Dylan-esque' vibes luring the crowd in to sit on the ground and appreciate the tunes. While Avery was still at the bar ordering drinks, Brisbane’s own Royal & The Southern Echo was playing his guitar driven folk. Songwriter Bryce Schneider is behind the project – the music was enjoyable – pleasant and easy to listen to. With a new single coming out next month this is one to look out for.

But before long it was over, and Avery took the stage. Someone coming to the show expecting The Growl’s angry stoner rock, Tame Impala’s psychedelic visuals or Pond’s experimental sounds would have been disappointed – but his set was anything but disappointing.

Avery crooned love song after love song – which even he admits is the majority of his material. He sounds like a man whose heart breaks easily. In-between the softer songs though we were treated to a loop pedal version of Gambling Is For Suckers, and a number of other incredible “B-sides”. Through nearly every song though, the crowd was mesmerised – about 20 people sat on the floor near his feet – and the rest of the small venue was packed.

Moving between the piano and a trusty guitar Avery keeps us all enthralled for over an hour – playing most of his new album Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams – an album filled to the brim with love songs.

But you can see even he recognises this, after one particularly melancholy track he calls himself out – telling a story about realising the song made him sound like a big sook. Later on in the show, he self-deprecatingly tells us all his guitar chords sound the same.

With Avery’s smooth voice and uncomfortable showmanship, this gig was definitely one to remember. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for the Perth musician.

Jacinta Bowler


Zed Facts

After 4ZZZ was evicted from its UQ premises in 1988, staff temporarily broadcast from the Mount Coot-tha transmission tower, using a cassette player which was set up to go straight to air.