Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So’s and Cameron McGill & What Army had a rough Sunday; a trip to the emergency room is never fun, especially in Asheville, NC, and then they were stymied by closures on I-40 trying to get down to the CH. The show got started late, and I had to bail on Margot’s set about halfway through so that I could go home and pass out cold for five hours before getting up to go to work. I was sorry to miss it, because they sounded fantastic — just a wall of guitars and keyboards with Richard Deck’s voice soaring over it. Some day I will see them and shoot them, I swear. But last night, I was really out for Cameron McGill, who’s opening for Margot with his band What Army on this tour, and who’s a long-time favorite of mine.
I couldn’t tell you how I discovered Cameron’s music, just that his solo albums and his latest with What Army, Warm Songs For Cold Shoulders, have been kicking around in my iTunes for at least a couple of years, and that his dark, lush indie pop is one of my favorite fall and winter sounds. I don’t usually struggle to describe bands, but I would have a hard time describing Cameron’s sound beyond “hypnotic”; openers often struggle in the 506, and particularly openers when the show is running late, but he held the crowd rapt in the palm of his hand while he and the Army ran through a much too short half hour set.
Recorded, Cameron’s music is very carefully controlled, precise, intricate and intimate, both in lyrical content and sound, and live, the band is much bigger and fiercer. For only four guys, they make a lot of noise, in the best possible way. It’s part Big Star, part Chicago blues, part piano power pop, and they don’t quite sound like any of those even where they sound like all of them. I was very, very glad to finally get to see Cameron live — and I am absolutely amped for their new full-length, due out next year.
I’ll be running an interview with Cameron later this week; he and What Army will be on tour with Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So’s for the next couple of weeks, so get out and see them. They’ve got a tour only EP with them, and it’s reason enough to go see them, for real.