It’s Friday night and I’m pulling up to the Magic Stick Lounge with a good friend, her mother driving us as if we’re in middle school again, because I’m not going to pay for a $50 Uber to Detroit. There’s a line circling around the block. Maybe that’s just the line to buy tickets? my friend’s mother offers, though we know it’s not.
We wait outside in the chilling 20-something degree air, making quick conversation with fellow fans of the three acts playing that night: Teen Suicide, Alex G and Pity Sex. I bought the $15 ticket only to see Alex G, a Temple University student whose first full-length album, DSU, was my favorite of 2014. I sincerely believe him to be the Internet’s best-kept secret, uploading songs – all recorded on his own from his apartment – to his Bandcamp since he was 17. Now he’s finally getting some attention from big names like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.
Yet as I’m walking upstairs to the venue, which rests comfortably above a bowling alley, pizza joint and bar, I hear multiple people asking Who the fuck is Alex G?
By the end of the set, they know who the fuck Alex G is.
Preceded by the rowdy and raunchy Teen Suicide, G’s calm onstage persona is refreshing. He doesn’t overdo the theatrics or engage in typical “rock star” behavior. The only thing that really comes out of his mouth is an appreciative “thanks” after every single song; he lets his bassist do most of the talking. Not to say that G doesn’t have stage presence – he is very much there. And his music, a dreamy mixture of pop, punk and rock, is completely engrossing, so any stage antics would have detracted from that.
While performing, he looks almost entranced. And as a member of the audience, you can’t help but feel the same, transfixed by this outwardly ordinary young adult as he sings about growing up and falling in love, then missing someone and falling out of love. His music is about figuring things out, and, while he’s performing, that’s exactly what he seems to be doing.
All I could think to say when asked about the show later is He’s amazing; he’s a god. The moment I got back to my room I began scrounging the Internet for interviews, photos, live performances, new songs – anything that would make the show last a little longer. I even went as far as to look him up on Facebook (we have one mutual friend, should I add him?) I stayed up until 3 a.m. wondering why shows like that ever have to end.
I got those post-concert blues, and I got ‘em bad. Let it be noted that most of Alex G’s music isn’t available online anymore because it’s going to be officially released later this year. Let it also be noted that I haven’t listened to anything – seriously, anything – but Alex G since the show five days ago. Do you know how frustrating it is to worship an artist whose songs aren’t on YouTube? Who only has one album on Spotify? Whose Facebook profile you can search for and actually still find? It’s hard.
I want nothing more than to be back at the Magic Stick Lounge, humming along to the dreamy melodies of his music. But I guess I’ll have to settle for a few poor-quality live shows uploaded to YouTube. And hey, maybe he’ll even accept my friend request.