The blonde, curly-haired Cam brought an insurmountable amount of energy to Joe’s on Weed Street (940 W. Weed St.) — which the Academy of Country Music awards has named the Nightclub of the Year — on Oct. 27. The concert marked Cam’s inaugural stop of her first headlining tour.
When The Phoenix spoke with Cam two weeks ago, she described the feeling of headlining a tour as “exciting” but also “terrifying.” Any fear she might have had was un-detectable during the 90-minute, high-energy set featuring the versatile, pop-infused country songs from her debut album, “Untamed,” which came with a few surprises.
The singer-songwriter said the night was a full-circle experience for her, given that just a few years earlier, she played the same venue as an essentially unknown artist. That same night she first played at Joe’s, she met her future manager — an employee who worked at the bar — who she has kept as her manager to this day. This spontaneity is a trademark of the bold, outspoken and daring female artist who isn’t afraid to stray from norms both on and off the stage with her vulnerable vocals and sweet-yet-commanding personality.
The high-quality melodies in her songs are already pleasing enough, but it’s Cam’s lyrics that make her music so transcendent. Although some of her songs deal with past relationships or breakups, all are written in a way that makes them relatable or applicable to every listener. This exact quality is what makes Cam’s music stand out. She admits that she isn’t in this industry for the glitz, glamour or fame (for proof, just give her song “Country Ain’t Never Been Pretty” a listen). For her, it is about making music that does something for the listener. One moment, she is singing “Fireball Whiskey” — it’s exactly the fun-loving, all-too-realistic song you think it is — and shortly after, she’s prefacing her honest, raw song, “Village,” by saying, “It is for anybody that’s ever loved somebody and lost them too soon.”
Aside from a starlit backdrop, a few hanging window frames and some animal statues and cutouts, it was just Cam alongside her four-piece, all-male band on the small stage. In addition to playing all 11 songs from her debut studio album, Cam treated fans to some new music she has been creat- ing. One of the night’s highlights came during Cam’s reverent and soulful cover of the Patsy Cline classic, “Crazy.” It demonstrated her ability to flawlessly encapsulate a classic country sound while infusing her own contemporary, nuanced flair.
Joe’s on Weed Street provided a relatively intimate setting for the concert, with only an open general admission floor for the hundreds of country-loving attendees that sold out the show. While Cam is no longer a stranger to playing arenas, she expressed excitement about playing the smaller venue in front of her biggest fans.
Joining Cam on the road was opening act Adam Sanders, a new-comer to the country music scene. While you might not recognize his name, many country fans are likely familiar with his work, considering he has already scored two No. 1 hits as a songwriter, with “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” by Cole Swindell and “Hell of a Night” by Dustin Lynch. Sanders played these two singles and some of his other songs, which will appear on his EP that is currently in the works.
The night ended with an encore performance of Cam’s hit single, “Burning House.” With beer cans raised, lighters in the air and concertgoers’ arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders, the venue was filled with the sub-par but exuberant vocals of Cam’s most devoted fans. In a couple of years, those who attended this concert will be saying, “I saw her when…”