On Thursday night, (Sandy) Alex G brought an incredible range of fuzzy, distorted sounds to the High Noon Saloon, where he brought his audience back to the 1990s.
First on stage was the psych-rock band Crumb, delivering a mellow yet high energy performance. People shuffled in during their set, gradually filling up the space and singing along. The band played radiant, psychedelic introductions and bridges, and ended their set with a lively sax solo, tambourine playing and dancing. The audience begged for an encore, but sadly the band went off stage.
Crumb joined the audience to watch the Austin, Texas-based indie-rock band Hovvdy take the stage. The guitar player came on stage supportively wearing a Crumb t-shirt. The crowd was less energetic and engaged while Hovvdy played their set — their performance was mellow, but escalated towards the end after they played a new single.
It was the first time either of the two openers had been in Madison, so it was a very memorable introduction for Alex G’s performance. Both bands brought similar fuzzy, experimental sounds reminiscent of Alex G’s work.
Minutes after the openers got off stage, Alex G teased the crowd by casually walking on stage to set up. When the stage was ready, he began his set by playing “Judge.” The dynamic audience danced and sang along as he played. Alex G oftentimes faced his band members to facilitate their harmonious sounds while smiling and dancing with them.
Alex G showed off how his short, repetitive lyrics could still constitute complex meaning when he performed “Poison Root.” The song consists of only four different lines, dealing with the artist’s struggle and growth. The drummer, Scotty Leicht, played phenomenal drum solos that escalated and built up powerfully. The symbol on his drum set was cracked and missing pieces, visually emphasizing his powerful playing style. When he wasn’t drumming, he sipped on PBR and took pulls of whiskey.
In the middle of his set, Alex G switched from playing the guitar to playing the keyboard. He played the song “Sportstar,” creating a more intimate ambience on stage as he experimented with sounds on the keyboard. His guitar player soloed beautifully, which enhanced the eloquent harmony of the song.
Alex G took the audience on a rollercoaster of sounds, from mellow to hard-core, folk to indie-rock. Toward the end of the show he announced the set was over and asked the audience what other songs they wanted to hear. Adorable and energetic audience member Abby Sherman asked Alex if she could go on stage and sing “Brite Boy” with him. Abby went on stage with a huge, nervous smile and sang the duet with Alex.
When Abby got off stage, the crowd yelled for Alex G to perform his most well-known song “Mary,” to which he responded, “shut up!” However, he accepted their request and began to sing as the crowd sang with him. Alex G concluded with “Serpent Is Lord,” a song on one of his older albums titled DSU. He talked to audience members as he helped his band clean up the stage.
Alex G’s collection of different sounds, and openness towards the audience on and off stage, made for a unique and energetic show. He cultivated a beautiful symbiotic relationship between his band and the crowd. This was not a show to miss.