Review: Alex G at Night and Day Manchester
October 31, 2015
Casper Hughes reviews Alex G at Night and Day cafe in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Alex G writes lo-fi college rock for the 21st century. All parts are written by him, recorded onto Garage Band via one condenser mic in his room at Temple University. This DIY ethic, made famous in the punk subcultures of the 70s, one can argue is now more prevalent than ever. One person, one mic, some instruments and a free bit of software and you’re good to go. The punk DIY ethic of the 70s – overtly anti-capitalist and anti-consumerism – differed remarkably from the current DIY landscape however. Today’s generation of laptop producers and musicians, such as Alex G, are partly a product of the mass production and consumption of laptops and computers – exactly what the original punks were railing against.
Alex G’s first three albums (he is only 22) displayed an erratic array of sounds and instrumentation characteristic of a young musician attempting to carve out his own niche. ‘Trick’ and ‘DSU’, his next two albums, were both harmonically and melodically typical of the American college rock tradition. In fact, although nice to listen to, it was almost a mimic. However, his most recent release, Beach Music, is an interesting, subtle and hazy piece of work that maintains the college rock feel whilst defining his own sound within it.
The gig at the Night and Day Café, in relation to previous raw and minimal performances in Manchester, was tight and assured. The new drummer drove the band forward as they stomped through much of the new album. Although a few old classics were played intermittently throughout the set (as well as in the rapturously received encore), the highlights were ‘Kicker’ (as catchy and evocative as the album version) and a slowed down version of ‘Salt’ (less slinky but more emotive). Perhaps Alex G has found his sound – both onstage and in his bedroom studio.