Showcasing softer and harder sides of songcraft, (Sandy) Alex G entranced a sold-out show at Brudenell Social Club’s brand new Community Room.
Ó (fka Eskimeaux) is a project headed by Gabrielle Smith of Brooklyn-based musician collective, the Epoch. Alongside her are Felix Walworth from acoustic indie rock project Told Slant on drums and Oliver Kalb from bedroom tunes project Bellows on guitar and synth – each member having recorded and performed for each other in the practice of a communal system.
The four-piece began the night with their not-so-recent most recent release, single “Year of the Rabbit,” a soft ballad with impressively intense drums that both soothes and moves you with its heartfelt tenderness. Beginning with natural lights that shine over the house equally, the lights and sound move into a more visually tactile experience as it shifts into swirling colors once they play a song coming up on the next album. Gabrielle expresses her love for the country she’s visiting for the first time, exhilarated over the abundance of sheep she’s seen on their tour so far.
Gabrielle asks the crowd to sing loud enough to “Broken Necks” so that the crowd from the night before in Manchester could hear. The song, shifting smoothly between soft melody and soulful chorus, sees the lead singer along as she steps into the crowd, crouches on the ground, then lies back on the stage, emotionally crooning into the microphone.
(Sandy) Alex G, the project of Pennsylvanian Alex Giannascoli, still records songs outside of a professional studio and in a bedroom as it was when first releasing music. The four touring members step onstage with a strange-looking set up: a keyboard divides the quarter with the bassist to one side and the drummer’s snare positioned a good foot above his head. The heaving crowd of the sold-out show heaves as they approach their respective instruments, the gap between bodies and stage closing quickly.
The show opens with “Judge,” a song off the most recent release, Rocket, and the first album released under the project’s new moniker (fka Alex G). Setting the mood for an easygoing, glistening yet unhinged night of soft rock, they move through favorites from his early DIY album Trick, “Forever” and “Kute,” before playing newer favorite “Bobby.” Midway through the set, though, Alex ditches his guitar to perch at the keyboard and something new ensues: The post-punk style of “Brick” and the clattering piano of “Horse” comes through in a jarring juxtaposition from the previous songs, with a scream into the microphone and not-all-too unpleasant mashing on the keyboard.
There is a move back into a softer side for “Brite Boy” as the members of Ó are invited back onstage to sing along in the short song, and they twirl themselves offstage. Crowd members start yelling recommendations – “Nintendo 64,” one of his unreleased songs, is shouted out, but they go with Trick track “Change” as the way to end the night.