Arriving at a mid-size venue like the Ogden well before the opener, one seldom expects to see more than a couple dozen people—maybe die-hard fans intent on a spot against the rail or eager to skip the merch line—but just 30 minutes or so after doors opened, the music hall was packed on a Wednesday evening. Alex G fans aren’t your average indie-alternative listener, as evidenced not only by the entire crowd’s punctuality but also the sheer number of embroidered “Alex G” hats, eager conversations speculating the setlist, and emotional voices chiming in during the chorus of any given track.
Brooklyn-based group Barrie, named for lead singer and producer Barrie Lindsay, opened the night with a dreamy bedroom-pop set. The band’s four members put forth lush, dynamic harmonies, complemented by a unique element of movement and choreographed dance; marked by expansive, synchronized arm movement and occasional entanglement of bodies, Barrie’s kineticism and style are reminiscent of Caroline Polachek’s early work with Chairlift. The crowd loved every bit of it, letting slip a myriad of “oohs” and “aahs” with each striking of a pose or interlocking of arms.
Alex G graced the stage after a short break, taking a seat at a keyboard front and center. A palpable change in energy from Barrie’s set before, the singer-songwriter began with “S.D.O.S.”—a dramatic, sometimes scratchy tune leading the tracklist of brand new album, God Save The Animals released in September. Passionate, emotional, and texturally intricate, Pitchfork described the album as “by far his most hopeful record,” and we were lucky enough to hear more than a few songs from the project. Switching to acoustic guitar for the quirky and dangerously catchy “Runner,” the energy went up a notch as Alex belted “I like people who I can open up to / Who don’t judge for what I say, but judge me for what I do”—lucky for him, these were just the sort of people filling the room before him. Sharing in a collective catharsis, the crowd (myself included) leaned into the sad and happy songs alike, enjoying the distinctive, idiosyncratic brilliance and earnestness that continues to set Alex G apart from the rest.
After Ur Gone
Ain’t It Easy
Early Morning Waiting
Cross the Sea
Brite Boy (with Barrie)
The First Cut Is the Deepest (Cat Stevens cover) (with Barrie)