Show Review: Porches, Alex G At The Horseshoe Tavern

By Grace Guimond

The secret is out: Alex Giannascoli – better known as Alex G. – is an incredibly prolific, incredibly talented, and very young artist.  In other words, Alex G. rules. The recent Domino Records-signee started out as a bedroom singer-songwriter – a one-man band pioneering and perfecting his signature style. Since 2010, he has built a loyal and quickly growing fanbase through word-of-mouth and a bandcamp full of DIY releases. In 2014, he dropped out of school – Philadelphia’s Temple University – in order to pursue music full time. That same year, he released his semi-breakthrough album DSU on Orchid Tapes (his first non-self published work).

Besides the penchant for lo-fi recording that draws it all together, Alex G.’s music is all over the place – in the best possible way. His music brings to mind Pavement, Built To Spill, and Wilco; combining fuzzy melodies with unpretentiously and unassumingly profound lyrics. I was lucky enough to catch him for the third time at The Horseshoe Tavern last week, where he and Kansas-based up-and-comer Your Friend were opening for Brooklyn’s Porches. Alex  is the kind of artist  you see without question every time he comes to town, no matter what.

As with all Alex G .shows with a non-Alex G. headliner, it’s pretty clear that a very specific set of people came five minutes before his set started and were planning on leaving five minutes after it ended – I’ve been known to be guilty as charged, but was On Official Duty this time round. Opening with “After Ur Gone“, DSU‘s first single, it was clear that the crowd for this show was pretty much like the crowd at every Alex G. show: the aforementioned die-hards who don’t really care too much about anyone else on the bill and the people hearing him for the first time, but most definitely diggin’ it. Conversation snippets around me ranged from “What way’re you TTC’ing after the set?” and “God, I hope he plays X.,”to “Damn, this dude is actually sick, I’m glad we got here early.”

Alex G. shows are very, very much about the music. He’s one of those artists who spends a solid 70% of the set facing the drummer, and the other 30% with closed eyes. He’s also one of those rare artists whose live songs sound almost exactly like – if not better than – the studio versions. Playing a decently long set that mixed earlier DIY releases with 2015’s Beach Music (he closed with BM single “Brite Boy”), this was the first time I’ve seen Alex G. play where he didn’t ask the crowd if anyone would let him crash with them. A sign of moving on up? Probably most definitely.

Porches set was: strong dance party vibes; nonchalant glam; one of those artists who looks like they’re having a staring contest with the lighting guy for a good majority of their set. The touring guitarist commended us on being “fuckin’ lit”. In contrast to Alex G., Porches felt very much about the performance – trying to create an experience via a curated aesthetic (the latter) vs. trying to let you create your own experience (the former). Both vibes worked really well for their respective artists.

Note: Alex G. isn’t the same as Alex G –  Giannascoli shows/Bandcamp are usually booked/found under “Sandy Alex G” and “sandy”, respectively, so make sure you’re going to the right one or you may be in for a different-kind-of-beachy surprise.

Editor’s Note: Alex G. is playing an all-ages show at Ottawa’s Gabba Hey with Nicole Dollanganger at the end of July (July 30th) and you should 100% go!

Artist Photo via Orlando Weekly: taken by Liv Jones

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