(Sandy) Alex G
featuring Puppy Problems
March 16, 2018 @ Afterhours
Review by: Joey Molloy
Photos by: Jason Crouse
(Sandy) Alex G’s music isn’t static. He switches between genres, creating anything from lo-fi bedroom pop to country, exemplified in his latest release. You wouldn’t expect country to drag in a huge crowd of Northeast indie kids, but his presence pulled them in like a magnet.
Alex has developed something of a cult following, which was certainly reflected in the crowd. When the doors opened up, fans rapidly pouted in and the Starbucks-turned-concert-venue’s typically mellow vibe immediately bubbled with an uncharacteristic excitement and energy.
The live music began with an introduction from local acoustic pop act Puppy Problems. Their low energy and melancholy failed to prepare the audience for the electrifying performance to come, but no one seemed to have any major gripes with some passable indie music. While they were technically playing music, the show didn’t really begin until Alex and his backing band set up shop on stage.
The first thing one notices when watching an Alex G show could be a few things. Maybe the first thing that really grabs you is their explosive energy and intensity; Alex grits his teeth and sings while hissing guitar and powerful rhythms drive the songs forward. Or maybe it’s how precisely the band plays. But for me, being a longtime fan of Alex, it’s how well his songs translate from record to the stage.
The band’s set was defined by an eclectic range of sounds. One cut would be a jazzy jam session, the next a harsh noise hardcore track. The band ran through their pre-planned setlist of about eight or nine songs, which featured fan favorites such as ‘Kicker’ and ‘Bobby.’
Then, something truly special happened. Alex looked to the crowd and said, “Okay. What do you guys want us to play for the rest of the show?” Fans couldn’t believe it as they shouted out their favorite songs and Alex nodded accepting the request. This continued for six songs. The fact that Alex and the band could pull that off on the spot is a true testament to how refined and well-rehearsed they are.
It’s certainly worth mentioning the incredible talents behind Alex. Guitarist and keyboardist Sam Acchione unleashed face melting solos, riffs with mind-blowing pedal effects, and an overall nuanced playing style that any musician would laud. Drummer Tom Kelley showed his skills with furious blasts, jazz-based time signatures, and on-point hits.
Alex and his bandmates stuck around to chat with fans after the show, keeping it casual and breaking down the barriers between performer and audience even further. No one seemed to leave disappointed and if they were, they were very good at hiding it.
Overall, not a bad way to spend a Friday night.