Alex G live at The Roundhouse, London
Performing his latest record God Save the Animals at London’s iconic venue The Roundhouse; Alex G continues to pioneer at the outermost corners of alternative rock music.
Giannascoli delivered yet another dynamic album last year with God Save the Animals which featured reoccurring themes of ‘God’ and plenty of self-reflection throughout. It’s a diverse record that has gained Alex G an even stronger fanbase, meaning that fresh fans and loyal diehards sold out the artist’s headline show at The Roundhouse months in advance.1883 Magazine attended The Roundhouse show last week as Alex G performed a refined and joyful set.
As the artist and his band took to the stage excited screams and cheers bounced around the giant dome that sheltered the eager audience from a rainy Camden. Giannascoli took a seat at his keyboard and before uttering any words, the band launched into the contagious track, S.D.O.S. The powerful bass served by John Haywood in the opening instrumental section added fuel to the already fired-up crowd. Then the band seamlessly transitioned into Runner, one of the singles from Animals, an ardent sing-along to the infectious hook of ‘yes, I have done a couple bad things’ emerged as the track drew to a close. Fan favourite from House of Sugar in the raw Hope followed and as jubilation reverberates around the proud venue, the huge drums of No Bitterness sliced through the atmosphere. Pre-Domino Records track After Ur Gone and a rendition of Judge complete with a fattened instrumental section breezed by. The band then took a well-earned breather with the mellow tune, Ain’t it Easy. Following this, Giannascoli thanked openers Momma and kindly encouraged attendees to buy their merch. Shouts of enthusiastic punters’ requests are ignored as drummer Tom Kelly counted the band in for Mission. The crowd were then treated to a slowed version of Kicker before a slippery solo, courtesy of Sam Acchione on lead guitar. The listeners were lured into a head bobbing by the compelling number and, as the track came to a close, those lost in the atmospheric space of the track returned to the room.
After sheepishly informing the listeners that the following track is going to be a very old one, the pretty chords to Pretend started to ring throughout the venue. Many fans in attendance were audibly rejoicing when suddenly, after just a few bars, the thunderous sounds of Brick crushed the elation. It’s a cruel joke to some, and outright hilarious to others. The wacky Horse came next and then Blessing, in which Giannascoli unleashed a few screams in the climax of the song. The band took a moment to set up for the imminent Immunity and Giannascoli took advantage of his newly added vocal effects and playfully interacted with the crowd. It was all quite serious up until that point, the set so far had been incredibly tight and there was a sense of unwavering confidence throughout the entire performance.
Another track from Animals that made the setlist was the tuneful Early Morning Waiting and Giannascoli announced that “the next track is called Wonderwall!” But of course, it wasn’t, it was another stellar track from Animals entitled After All. The track felt far heavier than the released version, perhaps the band made a conscious decision to go larger in parts of their live show. Cross the Sea followed and it was received gratefully. Afterwards, the crowd exploded in a frenzy of excitement when the band performed Gretel. During the performance, Giannascoli candidly turned his back to fans while strumming the catchy chords and strobes of white light beamed throughout the venue, making it quite the spectacle. Giannascoli then asked, “how many more songs am I supposed to write?” during Miracles, which begged the question; could we expect more? The answer was yes, as we were treated with Forgive before the encore.
For the final few songs of the night, it felt like a trip down memory lane for Alex G enthusiasts, as there was an encore featuring seven tracks all predating 2017. We were treated with Gnaw from the 2010 release Race, a track that is somewhat of a cult favourite amongst the fanbase. Then per request, Harvey followed. The hits kept coming with Snot and then another piano number with Mis. The band conceded to chants for Bobby, perhaps expectedly, and crowd participation ensued that everyone joins in with singing the infectious riff in Forever. Finally, the last song arrived. Momma re-enter the stage and take on shared vocal duties for the Alex G classic, Brite Boy. It made for a sweet ending to a rollercoaster of a show and it’s certainly evident that the band has spent a lot of time rehearsing for this tour. New inventions of old songs as well as all the fresh material from God Save the Animals made for an unmissable experience.
Words Dean Frost