cameron mcgill & what army @ local 506

cameron mcgill & what army @ local 506

The only good thing about the otherwise wretched emptiness of the 506 last night was the space itself; the 506 is basically a big concrete and cinderblock box, and the quiet but appreciative crowd distributed along the benches up against the walls let Cameron’s voice and his band’s sheer enormous sound echo and vibrate off the floor and the ceiling, its own sort of reverb chamber in a way that was completely epic and appropriate for his creepy, atmospheric songs and the sheer musicianship of the band, especially when Cam sat down behind his keyboard. (He’s a lovely human, a great songwriter and a good guitarist, but I always forget until I see him live again what a wonder he is behind the keys.)

It was a lovely evening; Cam’s new album is strange and wonderful, and it shivers and shudders live, as he moves from acoustic with just guitarist Dan as accompaniment to the full band’s thumping resonance to just himself and an electric guitar. “Counterfeit”, my favorite track from Is A Beast, is goosebump raising in a small space like the 506, just like it was on my headphones in my busy office (and our front balcony after dark), but the evening’s highlight was 8 minute show closer “She’s A Killer”, which ranged from so loud and huge it nearly hurt my head in the best possible way to tiny and shakingly gorgeous, just Cam and his piano. It’s the range, his own skills, and the band behind him that make Cameron such a wonder live, and it was just a shame that more people didn’t get to see it.

Cameron & What Army will be out for another two weeks supporting the new album, with slightly weird but fascinating folk quintet Adam Arcuragi & the Lupine Chorale Society opening, and if you want to see just Cam in action, Thrillians and other sundry Triangle residents, he’ll be back through May 7 with Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So’s, opening for the Twilight Singers at the Cradle. (Margot’s album from last year keeps sneaking up on me and surprising me with how lovely and weird it is, so I’m psyched they’ll be back. Hopefully sans emergency room visit this time.)

Full set here.

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