Live Review: (Sandy) Alex G, Brightness

9 February 2018 | 5:19 pm | Madelyn Tait

"The show got a bit wild as Alex G began asking the crowd to buy him whisky shots - of course, they obliged."

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There was no better way to spend a Thursday night than by enjoying the sounds of (Sandy) Alex G at the Lansdowne Hotel. The mood of the pub before the show was vibrant, as punters sipped on beverages, excited to see the musician during his first trip to Australia.

Australian indie act Brightness (aka Alex Knight) warmed up the stage, his fragile vocals contrasting with the heavy instrumentals supplied by his band. The musician from Lake Macquarie played a few tracks off his 2017 release Teething, thumping along with his stompbox to tracks like Talk To Me, Queen Bee and set closer Oblivion, which kept everyone in good spirits. With his warm tones and catchy hooks, Brightness was the perfect support for a (Sandy) Alex G show - and he definitely gained a few new fans.

(Sandy) Alex G's set got off to a rocky start. The multi-instrumentalist hailing from Philadelphia announced that his drummer had eaten bad sushi resulting in food poisoning and wouldn't be able to play. He opened with Sandy from his 2015 album Rules, fingerpicked guitar and soothing vocals causing a brief hush over the packed-out room before everyone began singing along.

Those who missed his appearances at Laneway Festival were treated to a much more intimate, structureless show. His guitarist hopped on the drums for Brite Boy before his actual drummer, who had decided to play through his sickness, entered the stage (as Alex G left it to grab a bottle of Jameson).

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The innovative artist, who started recording at 13 as a bedroom singer/songwriter using digital platforms like Bandcamp to build his fan base, is a prime example of a musician in the digital era. The full band now on stage, wearing matching Chain shirts to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Australian band, played Proud with a slight country twang, fan-favourite Bobby, which had everyone singing along, and Poison Root, with big, excitement-building snare rolls.

The next half of the show got a bit wild as Alex G began asking the crowd to buy him whisky shots — of course, they obliged. After jumping into the crowd he sat at the digital piano for renditions of Sportstar and Guilty, riffing with his guitarist over a walking bass line and playing a vocal sample keys solo. The artist, who has released eight studio albums, had plenty of material to draw from and satisfied his audience by answering every song request shouted out; Sarah, Mary, Animals, Boy and a cover of You've Got A Friend In Me.

After more whisky shots, a stage dive into the audience, and a dive into his drummer's lap, Alex G finished his lively set with Mis and Change, and noted, "You guys are so nice, we've been playing shows in the US and they're not like this."