The intimate crowd waited in anticipation in the Constellation Room of Orange County’s Observatory. Blue and red lights looked down on the main stage, which audience members stood only a couple feet from. Three electric guitars stood on the stage with their white, sparkly red, and pleated grey colors glistening under the luminescence. Sandy (Alex G) would be taking that stage tonight.
The opening act Cende came out, proclaiming that “It’s pronounced send” regarding their band name. The lead singer’s neon orange Nikes glowed as they sang their first song, “Bed.” Their guitar riffs were loud and strong, bringing a powerful energy to the room even amidst the dark lyrics of “You’ll be better when I’m not around.”
Cende brought on the singer of the next act, Japanese Breakfast, onto the stage for their last song. Both singers grinned while singing, with Japanese Breakfast’s singer jumping around with utter joy. The crowd couldn’t help but share the same energy.
Japanese Breakfast took the stage next, with lead singer Michelle Zauner hopping around the stage while playing her smooth, white electric guitar. Her voice was high and dreamy as she sang high, powerful riffs throughout the band’s performance. After a couple songs, the music stopped as Zauner empowered Asian-American musicians and encouraged them to follow their dreams no matter what.
The energy only continued with their upbeat song, “Everybody Wants to Love You” as audience members easily sang along with the catchy chorus. The joyful musician sang, “Ask me to get married / And then make me breakfast again” as her husband played electric alongside her. Smiles were on everyone’s faces, since her happiness was utterly contagious.
(Sandy) Alex G goes back to the raw enjoyment of music
That happiness only continued when “Life is a Highway” played right before (Sandy) Alex G, or Alexander Giannascoli, walked onto the stage. The audience all pushed forward to the front in order to get a good view of the nonchalant singer and his three accompanying instrumentalists. Giannascoli started his career from his bedroom, resulting in a fascinating, low-key composure even when surrounded by dozens of fans. He picked up his brown guitar while wearing a long button up shirt and jeans with rips in the back pocket.
A slow guitar riff started the concert as drums slowly began to build energy and suspense within the crowd. (Sandy) Alex G sang “Judge,” which included, “All the time / I try to recall / What drove you away from here / What was dream and what was real / Where was I.” Crowd members sang along with his gruff yet soothing voice.
Giannascoli’s mellow and easygoing personality made it feel like fans were in a garage singing with the main band. With even such a simple melody in his song “Proud,” the whole room was electrified while singing all the words with each other. The musician looked out into the audience and smiled as he continued to sing, playing other popular songs such as “Mary,” “Poison Root,” and “Brick.”
(Sandy) Alex G was full of surprises, as songs were distinctly different from each other in tone and sound. In “Brick,” the singer screamed into the microphone while simultaneously playing piano, contrasting the more folky vibe in his song “Mary.” Even while experimenting with different genres and instrumentals, (Sandy) Alex G executed the tasks with raw class and talent.
The Connection Between Sandy (Alex G) and The Crowd Is Undeniable
Towards the end of the concert, the band took suggestions from fans, who were eager to shout out their requests. The crowd got the opportunity to sing along to their favorites, such as “Brite Boy,” “Sarah” and lastly “Animals.” Before beginning “Animals,” he told the audience, “One more, and it’s a special surprise” with a grin before entering a powerful electric riff. By the first verse, the whole room was jumping and dancing with each other while singing the lyrics.
(Sandy) Alex G has the rare quality of making people feel comfortable and at home: a characteristic that is so desperately needed in this day and age. Although each song contained short, simple lyrics, the opportunity for easy memorization allowed people to feel like they were a part of the band.
There seemed to be no stage, no lights and no barrier between the band and the fans. With each song, unity and trust were developed between singer and viewer, and that rare relationship produced a memorable show. Not only did (Sandy) Alex G’s performance consist of profound musical experimentation, but it also sought to inspire significant community and purpose within the audience. Any band that accomplishes such a challenging task is deserving of all recognition and praise.
Hear more from (Sandy) Alex G HERE.
Photos by Hannah Rexinger