Cameron Avery, on his Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams tour, received a warm San Francisco welcome. “Someone smashed our windows and stole our laptops,” Avery told fans early in his set.
Don’t feel too bad for the guy, though. Cameron Avery’s got a lot going for him music-career wise. He’s the founder of the gritty, Australian, garage band The Growl. He’s opened for Arctic Monkey’s frontman, Alex Turner, during his Last Shadow Puppets tour. Most notably, he’s the bassist in the Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala. Cameron told me he met the founder of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, quite simply: at a bar.
“His girlfriend at the time was a mutual friend of ours,” Cameron told in the midst of girls asking for selfies with him. “She was like ‘you should come check out this band Tame Impala, you would probably like them.’ So yeah, we got introduced at a gig.”
After I saw his performance, it was no surprise that there was a line of girls asking for pictures of Cameron after his show. Cameron performed with the swagger of John Travolta in “Grease” — if John Travolta drank Fernet and and wore a blue wool blazer.
Cameron’s tour of his new album, “Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams” brings you back to high school; a simpler time. The majority of the songs are sweet, little love songs. His show at the Rickshaw Stop was no different.
One of his first songs of the show, “Big Town Girl,” opened with the innocent lyrics “Got the top down, so do your hair up pretty.” Cameron’s brooding, deep voice made you want to phone up your high school sweetheart. The audience’s heads bobbed and swayed.
Avery played love song after love song, ballads that were written for dancing under the stars. The thing is, this isn’t the Cameron Avery fans recognized in Tame Impala or the gritty, innovative The Growl.
If you listen to Avery’s first band, The Growl, you wouldn’t recognize his “Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams” tour. The Growl screeched and ranted. They captured angst and anger in a listenable way. In The Growl’s “What Would Christ Do”,” thrashing drums and thumping guitars blended together as if they were made that way all along. The Growl was doing their own thing and it was exciting to watch happen.
In “Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams,” Cameron Avery sounds reminiscent of Alex Turner in “Submarine,” modern day love ballads sung with bravado. It’s not all that surprising that Alex Turner has rubbed off on Cameron Avery in some way. Cameron lists Turner as “one of [his] best friends.”
We have enough Alex Turners in the music scene. We have enough rock and rollers with swagger. We have enough of those silky, dark vocals whispering lyrics about girls over guitar. Its great for an artist to branch out and try new things. But adopting a sauve, ballad-driven set? Leave that to Alex Turner, Cameron Avery.