– Ritz, Manchester –

Alex G

Alex G

I usually hate those pretentious types, those fans who believe that the unreleased stuff is better than the released stuff, but for tonight at least I’m my own worst enemy. As someone who only listens to Alex G’s unreleased music I have no idea how I will fare at an Alex G gig.

I don’t like going to gigs blind but new year new me, we all have to face our fears sometimes. The support band, Momma, are a sort of lo-fi indie band but a lot heavier, leaning more towards grunge probably. With the sort of guitars that fill your gut with noise and cling to the back of your throat. They sound like a band I’ll grow to love.The lead singer speaks in a monotonous tone. It’s uncool to care too much better to act like you don’t care at all.

Standing waiting in the crowd I hold an imaginary Mac Demarco lookalike contest. They’re everywhere. A guy about two rows in front to the left of me wins. For a guy that notoriously underdresses the crowd are an interesting bunch. I feel so out of place, everyone is so dressed up. I’m violently hungover. It’s the day after St Paddy’s day. What were you expecting? My main concern though is the sheer number of young girls here all dressed in fast-fashion pieces (An effect of scrolling your life away on TikTok) . I’m worried that Alex G has been TikTokified. Reduced down to the two or three songs of his that have gone viral on the platform. Wait I can’t say that, I barely know his discography, for once the call is coming from inside the house.

About thirty minutes after the exit of the support band Alex G and his band appear on stage. I was right, he’s not dressed in anything fantastical, just a white shirt and jeans. S.D.O.S is the first song on the setlist and I think to myself Oh My God I might hate this. Unlike the lo-fi bedroom pop I’d become accustomed to, this was something much heavier and more experimental. With hyperpop, warping auto tuned vocals. I’m well aware I’m not hearing anything I know tonight but this is a complete departure from the expected. It’s followed up with another song from his newest album, ‘God Save The Animals.’ Runner, a slower softer paced track. Right, we’re fine. I know what I’m in for now.

Working their way through a hulking setlist of nineteen songs, the overall sound continues in a similar pattern. I have to say that I feel my original judgement was ill-informed, rather than just another sad boy wailing guitar artist, Alex G is much more experimental. At times taking an almost wall of sound approach to his music. It’s overpowering and overstimulating but it’s just so good.

Oh finally, I know this one! Sarah, except it’s not. Something harsh and massive enters, It’s not the same gig I was at two minutes ago. Brick is exactly that, solid and aggressive and nothing like anything else.

Nineteen songs completed the band head off stage. Only to come back moments later for an encore. Which in my experience are usually another one or maybe two songs. Alex G tops this with another six songs. It’s at this point he plays what people will know, like Sarah and Mary. The two songs that have re-emerged on TikTok. As expected these garner the most attention and praise from the audience. While expecting something different I’m not disappointed. The alternative nature of Alex G’s music is something to behold. I firmly believe that he is one of the great experimental artists of our generation.

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Megan Barton

Meg is a proud Mancunian and Music Journalist. She started out by writing press releases for bands in her free time, but now runs her own website Dyrti which she plans to expand in the near future. She loves Lester Bangs and Tony Wilson and has interviewed bands such as Cabbage, Oceans On Mars and Adult Cinema. You will more often than not find her somewhere in the Northern Quarter.