“I always break a f*cking [guitar] string, man,” Alex G bemoaned to his sold-out audience at the Middle East Nightclub Tuesday, April 12. “And now you guys are going to have to see the worst show of your lives.”
That wasn’t the general consensus of the myriad of hip kids gathered at the Middle East downstairs, who gathered to see Alex G, Porches, and Your Friend. They swirled around in clothing that was equal parts stylish and fashionably offensive, donning brash colors and patterns absurdly clashing. In the midst of their euphoria, a broken guitar string was the last thing they cared to notice.
If the experience of basement show could ever be translated into a live show at a “legitimate” venue, Tuesday’s concert was as close at it will ever get. All the elements were in place: the crowd’s incessant head-bobbing, the fuzzy guitar quality, the cardboard merch display all fostered the underground feel, especially in addition to the band’s overall laid-back demeanor.
Alex G isn’t the vocalist of a generation, but rather, the voice, and it’s his uninspired attitude that’s the inspiration for a bunch of 90s kids who are hungry for nostalgia and simpler times. His music is characterized by sparse yet intricate instrumentals layered with Alex’s uncanny lyrics. Live, every subtlety is accentuated, from alien-like guitar solos to the absurdly hearty bass, which was strong enough to tickle punks through the rubber soles of the Converse.
The set teetered from “Wicked Boy” to last song “Brite Boy” (and then there’s just plain ol’ “Boy”), then from pseudo-romantic “Mary” to coming-of-age song “Harvey.” The similarities run deep in his material and sound, making for a rather homogenous set. But much like snapped guitar string, the crowd was too enveloped in the experience to care. “Sarah!” they shouted, egging him on to play his most popular acoustic number.
“That’s my Mambo No. 5.” he teased, but fleshed out the tune nonetheless, his strategically tiny falsetto voice on the chorus just as gritty as the recording.
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