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(SANDY) Alex G - Phase One, Liverpool 07.02.2020

Recently, I was lucky enough to snag a spot at the sold out (SANDY) Alex G Liverpool show at Phase One. Having been past this venue multiple times but never actually going inside, this gig gave me the opportunity to check two things off my bucket list, as this was my first time seeing Alex and his band live too. The venue was decently sized, but was already surprisingly full by the time I arrived. I’d only been able to gauge Alex’s popularity through streaming numbers, so seeing how many fans were there straight from the start of the night was eye-opening.

The first and only support band to take to the stage were Pet Shimmers, a seven-piece lofi Indie-Pop group based out of Bristol. Their brand of distorted, layered and moody music would be instantly recognisable to any fan of Alex G and they set things off on the right note. That isn’t to say that they were merely copycats however, as their set proved they had more than a few tricks up their sleeves, bringing in occasional, experimental blurts of synthesizer and some unusual, wavey samples to the mix. The band also maintained a constant energy and vibe that was hard to not get swept up in.

By the time 9pm rolled around, (Alex G’s supposed set time), there was a buzz of anticipation and excitement in the air. The place was packed and every time a song over the PA faded out, the group would respond with the odd cheer and shout in expectation. Once the opening song finally came creeping out of the speakers, the audience were entranced. Things kicked off with the woozy instrumental “Project 2” from the latest album “House Of Sugar”. The band took to the stage as this pre-recorded tune blared out of the speakers, with the excitement only building with each passing second. Once the instrumental faded out the band continued to stand there in silence, until a creepy pitch shifted sample came in and the band burst out into “Gretel”. This tune was given a new-found heaviness in the live setting, something that became a theme throughout the band’s set. After this moodier number, Alex took to the acoustic guitar and the uneasy piano intro to “Southern Skies” brought its own discordant swing to the dancefloor.

Throughout the night I found myself surprised at how these songs were translated by a live band, especially slower cut “Kicker”, which was morphed into a sludgy banger that shook the room. Whilst the majority of the set was dominated by cuts from the latest album there were a lot of fan favourites dotted in between, such as Rocket’s ‘Bobby’ and Trick’s ‘Kute’, both of which were strong contenders for best song of the night. However, after a pre-rehearsed stage bit where the band pretended to leave the stage in a huff, they returned for a mammoth sized encore of fan requests from across Alex’s repertoire.

Despite the odd left-turns some of these songs take and the sheer size of Alex’s back catalogue, there came a point in the night when the similarities in style between these songs became a bit of a detriment to the set. The performances were great and tight, but after the 5th or so encore song, it became a little difficult to tell them apart. Whilst it might have gone on a bit too long for my tastes, the crowd seemed to disagree and screamed request after request until the band called it a night. To me it was a bit too much of a good thing, but I’m sure diehard fans will absolutely love it.

Review - Spencer Rixon

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