Cam - The Roundhouse
Every so often, maybe once every couple of years comes along the perfect combination of artist, venue and audience to make something truly special and such an event occurred at the Roundhouse with Cam. Possibly because this was one off event, no album to plug, no string of tour dates to fulfill but from the moment she stepped on stage to her final steps off it Cam would not put a foot wrong.
The Roundhouse can be synonymous with finding that all of the worlds giants have chosen to stand in front of you, but no such worries tonight. This show is part of the Roundhouse's "In The Round" series and the venue is fully seated. The iconic circular stage is somewhat strangely dressed - there is only a modest drum kit, a small keyboard and a rack of 3 or so guitars - these are for Cam's 2 piece band ( Jordan West and Simon Martensson ) who will spend much of the night as geographically far apart as they possibly could be, with Cam to be found in the middle at the centre of the stage.
The show would begin in a somewhat strange manner - there was the usual intro reel of an old movie clip but instead of the band coming on - Cam just bounded out to what can only be described as a raptuous welcome, to have a little pre show chat and announce that she felt there was
"Something going on between us"
and she was so right.
Eventually the 2 piece band, dressed in white would appear, Jordan would take her position behind the drum kit where she would provide both percussion and backing vocals, while on the other side of the stage Simon would pick up his acoustic guitar, also providing backing vocals and the occasional keyboard requirements. The sound would be marvelously uncluttered, opening with "Redwood Tree", Jordan's drumming was sympathetic and not overbearing and the same could be said for Simon's excellent guitar. It all left Cam free to be wonderfully expressive with her hands as she sung. For nearly every song she would give some real insight or background to it in such an open and refreshing way.
During "Forgetting You" she would make use of every inch of the wide circular stage
Moving her microphone from centre stage to the front of the stage, things would speed up a little with "They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore", it would see Cam do a happy shuffle of a dance that really typified the look of someone really at home enjoying what they do best.
The stories that accompanies the songs were candid and open sharing more than many artists would and that is all part of what goes to make that bond between artist and audience.
Cam has a great sense of humour, after mentioning that Harry Styles had provided the whistling on "Changes", she just for a second, gently teased he was about to come on before eventually going on to provide her own whistling solo - ending the song with a big smile.
Those intros really allowed Cam to hold the audience in the palm of her hands, she was able to make the audience laugh or in the case of "What Goodbye Means" go "Ahh" with a tale of touching sadness. Once again the band would come up trumps, Jordan's inventive percussion and Simon's guitar really added to the drama of the song. Although Cam will undoubtedly take many of the plaudits from the night, Jordan and Simon were the unsung heroes, Jordan providing the haunting backing vocals for "Like A Movie" while Simon moved over to play piano. There was the appearance of some additional strings which could have sounded obtrusive, yet here they enhanced the cinematic feel of the song.
The next stage of the show would see three stools placed at the centre of the stage - for a beautiful version of "Village" with the three voice harmonising on the chorus. It was part of a charming run of songs "Half Broke Heart" seemed effortlessly easy while the new song "Slow Down" was a wondrous piece of classic country that would have sounded as good sixty years ago as much as it sounded affectionately retro tonight. The band would return to their posts leaving Cam on her stool for "Palace" although it was effectively just Cam and Simon on electric guitar. -It saw Cam pull of some sparkling notes with her voice reverberating around the venue.
Cam would temporarily leave the stage before returning for "The Other Side" and then a storming "Diane" brought the Roundhouse to its feet followed by a faithful rendition of "Because The Night".
Like many of the audience #TEAMw21 must have heard "Burning House" more times than we care to recall, yet tonight with the introduction, the simple band arrangement and Cam's delivery - the song never felt so real and alive - simply stunning.
Things would close with "Girl Like Me" with the three entertainers once again on stools at the front of the stage. With no merch to sell Cam sent everyone home with a free page of stickers - reminding us "How wonderful we were!".