On November 1st, 2019, KDUP’s Assistant Music Director, Conroy Boyd attended (Sandy) Alex G’s performance here in Portland, Oregon at the Wonder Ballroom. You can read his review of the show below.
It’s rare that I remember a concert so vividly, but this was one of the best concerts I have ever been to, and one where I walked out knowing I would remember it for years to come. I had seen (Sandy) Alex G before at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, but this was something completely different. It was a much more intimate show. We showed up and caught the end of Slow Pulp. A shoegazey rock four-piece that put on quite a vibey set. They played their new EP and as the first opener, they actually did a great job. The crowd was into them and we could tell they were heavily influenced by (Sandy) Alex G.
Once they finished their set, this girl comes out alone with an acoustic guitar and sits down. She said her name was Tomberlin and she was from Louisville, Kentucky. She also said her dad was a Baptist pastor and shouted out Christian rock as one of her major influences. She stuck out to me as being especially comfortable on stage and had no problem making the crowd laugh and feel as though they were there to see her. When she started singing, we all fell into a trance because of how beautiful her voice was. Her set was sedative but long, and about halfway through people got impatient and the crowd in the back started talking loudly. She told them to “shut the f*** up” and continued singing (which made us all fall in love with her). She’s an amazing singer, but her set was a little slow and long to have right before Alex G came out. We were getting impatient because two openers are always rough.
She finally finished and (Sandy) Alex G came out with his band and immediately went into their set without a word. They performed a lot of their new album, House of Sugar, and about halfway through the show, Alex G puts on a blonde wig (see the attached pic) and sits down at a keyboard by himself. I thought he was going to go into one of his folky slow ballads, but instead he screams into the mic and starts “singing” the song “Brick.” This is their hardest song, and it got the crowd moshing immediately. He stands up and goes around the stage in
one of the craziest dances I have ever seen. This was probably the best part of the show and the crowd was super into it. He sits back down at the keyboard when the song ends and plays a few more of their most popular songs before the entire band quietly gets up and walks out. The speakers blast “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts (from the hit Disney/Pixar trilogy Cars) and when the song finishes they walk back out. Alex G says, “this is now our encore” (which I loved) and they played another song. After that they said, “ok that’s all we got, anyone got any requests?” and they played about 10 songs that the crowd requested. It was apparent that they respect their fans and want us all to leave having heard what we wanted.