Here we have the final entry into our Live In San Francisco series: an intimate evening with Alex and his indispensable sax man, Roy Molloy (beard in briefcase) performing at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco, a very classy and lovingly maintained venue originally built in 1907 on Market Street, just a pube or two into the Castro District.
I was first introduced to Alex Cameron by Adam Beris, a real swell fellow who’s been drawing Castle Faces for us for years. He asked if I had heard of this “Suicide meets sad Springsteen” act and showed me the mysterious Geocities-style website (complete with shady porn ads). I was immediately hooked on the skeletal throb, the stark portraits of hard luck losers, the ego-maniacal squares, and the swagger on this prosthetically wrinkled Australian song & dance man. On a paid website, as he reminds us. Both sharp witted and steeped in thespian courage, this is exactly what the world needed in this hungry, hungry time we live in. We got in touch, things led to other things, and when Alex was opening for Oh Sees at the Chapel in San Francisco we hatched a plan to make a live record, over white wine spritzers (as all the best deals are inked).
Al and Roy are the real deal, folks…and this wasn’t to be just any old show. I was determined to do something a little special, and I got the idea from working on John’s book of poster art (Exploded Globes) to bill it as a semi-formal, encourage people to “get dressed up and messed up” as John puts it, and do it in a classy sort of hall, make it muy romantico. We got flowers from the Mission De Flores (who have sadly joined the ghost ranks of SF small businesses past), one of which made it to the cover, the champagne and fine wines flowed, and I like to think we helped San Francisco get a little luckier that night. There’s flower petals all over the mix here; Roy’s sax slinks sultrily, Al is in fine form, adding the occasional barb on the stem, sounding well oiled and comfortably bantering between tunes, and Justin Nijssen hangs back and window-dresses the whole thing with some well placed guitar and a few backups. These are professionals, need I remind you, hard workin’ road dogs with deep thoughts that inspire deep respect, and they put some dancing sweat on all the hits from Jumping The Shark as well as “Candy May” from Forced Witness, which at the time wasn’t yet out. We couldn’t be prouder of our final “Live In SF" disc, and it’s out on Castle Face Records in partnership with Secretly Canadian April 19th. - Matt Jones
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