(Sandy) Alex G has had quite the year. He came out of 2016 with writing credits on both of Frank Ocean’s new albums, Blonde and Endless and earlier this year released his critically lauded third — or seventh if you include his Bandcamp back catalogue — album Rocket.
Support came from the fantastic Ó, formally Eskimeau, who kept the crowd enthralled and dancing under the mirror ball lights. The New York based band played tracks from the 2016 EP Year Of The Rabbit and 2015’s O.K as well as some new tracks their lo-fi indie rock, sounding like a more confident Frankie Cosmos. They were the perfect opening for (Sandy) Alex G.
The sold-out crowd, who I would describe as people who own the newest Mac Demarco record on vinyl, burst into a rapturous applause as (Sandy) Alex G and his band took to the stage, excited to see if Alex G’s live shows live up to his recordings.
The first half of the set consisted mostly of tracks from the new album opening with ‘Judge’ and then jumping around the track listing and sprinkling a few tracks from his last couple albums, with the crowd swaying and singing along throughout. A personal highlight of the night for me was his performance of Rocket’s opening track ‘Poison root’, a softly sang Americana folk track followed immediately by ‘Brick’, a distorted noise song that features Alex G screaming the lyrics backed by a discordant melody.
For the last half an hour, rather than play a pre-planned set list he instead asked for requests from the crowd and, despite his vast back catalogue, he and his band had clearly cared enough to rehearse almost all of it so everyone could hear their favourite Alex G song. When the set finished and the band started packing away their equipment, the crowd screamed for more, eventually managing to convince the band to do what is the only sincere encore I’ve ever seen, even if it took a few minutes to find the bassist and get him back on stage.
(Sandy) Alex G has the talent to make a performance to a sold-out crowd feel as perfect and intimate as his recording and an effortless charisma that draws you in, making you hang on every syllable, every word. Maybe it’s from his many years playing house parties at a college or somewhere else but watching him live you get a sense that he just wants to play and make sure the audience has the best time they could possibly have.
After the gig, he hung around taking photos and answering questions from people, cementing the fact that he loves his fans as much as they love him. If you get the chance to see (Sandy) Alex G you will not regret it.
Thursday 19th October, Deaf Institute