Melbourne, Australia indie rocker Alex Lahey won us over last year off the strength of her debut EP, B-Grade University, and we were very excited to finally see her play the US this month. We first caught her at the BrooklynVegan/Sound on Sound-presented Lost Weekend when she was down in Austin for SXSW, and then she made her NYC debut with two BV-presented shows this past weekend: Rough Trade on Friday (3/24) and Mercury Lounge on Saturday (3/25).
I went to both NYC shows (and Austin), and I didn’t tire of seeing her one bit. At the risk of sounding too hype-y, I can safely say Alex Lahey is my favorite new artist around. Any of the five songs on her EP could be hits, and they sound at least as good live. If there’s one song that could really be a hit though, it’s “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me.” She’s been ending her shows with it, and the Rough Trade crowd even started a mini push pit for that one. (Rough Trade was also a later [drunker] show.) Hearing the B-Grade University songs live is great, but yet another treat of Alex’s shows is she’s been previewing new songs off her upcoming debut album for Dead Oceans. There’s one that she plays second to last in her sets, called “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself,” that sounds like it may soon be bigger than anything on her EP. It’s a true indie rock banger and I can’t wait to hear it recorded.
Alex’s songs would make her shows enough of a draw on their own, but she’s also quite the jokester and her on-stage banter can be pretty funny. Both NYC shows included a reference to her mom (who was at both shows) and joked about her mom loving “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas, which played over the PA at the end of Alex’s set. She also joked about asking the crowd for album titles suggestion in each city she played (Brooklyn suggested “Ayyy I’m walkin’ here!”), about the food she tried in each city (cheesesteaks in Philly, Katz’s Deli before the Mercury Lounge show), getting dumped in Perth (as an introduction to her new song “Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder”), and more.
The Rough Trade show was with Gustaf of goodbyemotel (who Alex went to high school with) and Journalism. Mercury Lounge was with Little Racer. Pictures of the Rough Trade show are in the gallery above.
Tune in to the BrooklynVegan ‘Blog Radio’ on SiriusXMU on Wednesday (3/29) at noon and again at midnight EST, or listen to it later on demand in the SiriusXM app. Alex is our special guest on the show.
She told the crowd that she’d be back in the US later this year once her album is out, so stay tuned for that. UPDATE: She said November on our SiriusXM show.
photos by Amanda Hatfield