I think it’s fair to say most everybody at High Noon Saloon Thursday night would agree that it was an especially magical occasion. The doors opened at 7 p.m., welcoming a slow flow of eager indie-rock fans excited to experience (Sandy) Alex G live. Before the first opening band, Crumb, even hit the stage, the venue had an incredibly friendly, social energy. Whether it was your best friend or a complete stranger, love and laughter was shared between you and whoever was around. The first hour before the music began was a great time, and the vitality only got stronger as night went on.
Once Crumb took the stage, the room transformed from a social hall into a sea of head-bopping, body-swaying music lovers, stuck in a lively trance. The silver voice of Crumb’s lead singer, Lila Ramani, in harmony with the slick sounds of the guitar, keys, bass and drums from the rest of the band, hugged the audience like liquid lightning. At the end of each song, the audience erupted into a handsome applause, much deserved by the great performance of the band. The dream-rock vibe of the band — soft, smooth and electric — translated incredibly well into live music and sounded equally as powerful as their studio recordings. During one of the last songs of their set, keyboardist Brian Aronow whipped out a saxophone and completely rocked the room. The audience went wild and all was well and beautiful. Crumb, you did well.
Hovvdy (pronounced Howdy) followed shortly after. Hovvdy was definitely a change of pace from Crumb. Their studio work has a similar, slow, bedroom rock, low-key feel to Crumb and Alex G but their live performance translated into something quite different.
They sported a drummer, two guitarists, and a bassist. Everyone but the drummer acted as a vocalist, switching off for different songs. The general tone of their live performance was that of soft punk rock, with the vocals often drowned out by the loud guitar and drums. Hovvdy was filled with intensity and kept the crowd engaged with a strong stage presence and an exciting set list. They may have not sounded like their studio work, but they still delivered a good time.
Sometime around 10 p.m., Alex G took the stage. The audience was all smiles and cheers, packed all the way to the back of the room. Like Hovvdy, Alex G’s set was very different compared to his studio work. However, he maintained the same genuine, personable, friendly vibe that his fans adore him for. He did not seem to take himself too seriously as he enjoyed some onstage laughs with his band mates and the audience.
At any point during the show, Alex could be expected to be doing something playful. Whether it was his classic “Alex G Shuffle” or sticking his tongue out as he improvisationally banged away at the piano, Alex kept the energy high. He switched back and forth from playing the keys and guitar, with a consistent role as lead vocalist. Throughout his set, he sang his songs in a much grainier tone than you might expect based on hearing his studio work.
Once the band finished their set, Alex welcomed song suggestions from the audience. After playing the first suggested song, he brought Trophy Dad’s Abby Sherman on stage for an impromptu duet. Sometime ago, Alex had crashed at Sherman’s house when he was on tour. He recognized her in the crowd, and invited her up on stage. After they rocked the stage, Abby returned to the audience with tears of happiness in her eyes.
And that was the night. Summed up just like that. It never mattered how many “mistakes” were made on stage, or that the live music performed had a very distinct sound from the musicians studio work. At the end of the night, what everyone will remember is the vivacious environment that was created in the High Noon Saloon that Thursday night. It was a night filled with smiles, laughs, and tears. It was a night of bliss and great music — a night to remember.
(SANDY) ALEX G