Cam - Gorilla, Manchester

So Manchester, it was Cam's first time. In a sweaty, sold out Gorilla, the country singer made her Mancunian debut. And, to use common parlance, totally smashed it out of the park.

It can be a tough thing, writing a review of a live show. The basic structure is always the same:

  • act comes on stage
  • act plays music
  • act leaves stage
  • and sometimes... acts returns for encore.

The beauty of a midweek night in Manchester was that Cam made her audience remember why they love country music. And why it's so different from almost every other genre. The storytelling and the personal nature of the songs, the personality of the very best artists, and its ability to bring real happiness and sadness at the same time.

Perching on a sofa in silver sequined trousers and a Romeo & Juliet t-shirt, with her trademark mop of blonde hair, the Californian is in the very highest spirits through the 90-minute show. From telling stories about bad breakups, both her fault (the truly marvellous 'Burning House'), her choice ('My Mistake'), and properly bad breakups ('Runaway Train'), to introducing the audience to the old bluegrass song 'Echo Mountain' - short version, dog kills kid, dad kills dog, kid is actually alive and dog saved it from wolves - and crying and laughing at the same time.

There's an energy in the room that's part Manchester, part Cam, all Gorilla - it even leads to an official call for the show.

Cam herself is a terrific storyteller, she's the most peppy and funny singer this side of Angaleena Presely, and she totally owns the room. The narrative of the songs, including the heart-on-sleeve 'Diane', is the through thread of the evening, and despite the heat in the venue Cam's voice is perfect throughout.

So, not your average gig, and not your average performer, both Cam and her songs are funny and thoughtful, and the audience singalong to 'Country Ain't Never Been Pretty' sums up the evening in a neat little nutshell.

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