Alex Lahey / Studio 2, Liverpool | 24th of March

Alex Lahey / Studio 2, Liverpool | 24th of March

It’s the 24th of March when Alex Lahey (supported by Ziptied, Quen, and Lazy Day) is set to entertain us at Liverpool’s Studio 2. It’s a venue of modest size and with an air so casual that it’s entirely possible to find yourself wedged in amongst the support acts sprinkled in the audience and remain oblivious up until they head to the stage.

The first opener is Ziptied, a five-piece band who are probably young enough to be high-schoolers. There are a few clunks – issues with microphone volume, nervous giggles, and they may have forgotten to mention their name while on stage – but considering how young they are a lack of complete professionalism can be excused. A good portion of their set might be covers but the underlying technical musical ability and creativity is there, giving the band future potential.

They are followed by Quen, a band who could never be accused of lacking enthusiasm. There’s being into it and then there’s being into it. No single member of the band remains still and the frontman is the most enthused of the lot, electing to jump from the stage to sing in the crowd on not just one but two occasions, and finishing one of their more melancholic songs lying on the floor at the feet of the audience. Some may have found the performance a tad melodramatic while others may have seen it as a display of raw passion – either way it cannot be claimed that they were dull to watch for a second. The sound itself is very much alternative rock with a few indie undertones present here and there, although they do have their heavier moments with slick riffs and impressive vocals that range from light melodies to the occasional scream.

Lazy Day make their entrance next and the dreamy hypnotic guitars accompany the frontwoman’s utterly distinctive voice; it’s soulful, ethereal, and sounds like it originates from deep down inside her. They work like a slick machine, the vocals and instruments in a complete harmony that puts the audience into a semi-trance-like state. The band are – quite literally – in perfect step with each other, going so far as to step and sway from side to side in synchrony during one of their songs as if it’s a piece of rehearsed choreography. In terms of their specific genre they are hard to place but they sound like the musical equivalent of wandering through the forest alone and lost in thought at dawn.

By the time Alex Lahey takes to the stage, the audience is more than prepared for her. More and more people have been filtering in through the doors in time to see her and they are not let down. Straight away, the 24-year-old launches into her latest single, I Love You Like a Brother, a perky and upbeat pop-punk mash of catchy refrains and light-hearted gusto. It’s a testament to the sheer enjoyableness of her music that the rest of the set passes by far too quickly, songs interspaced with tales of travelling from their home country of Australia and what they have been up to during their first visit to Liverpool (here’s a hint: it’s a visit to the museum of a certain world-famous band) that are delivered with an unassuming good humour.

A sprinkling of older songs make their way onto the set, such as Ivy League¸ the relatable musings of someone having gained an arts degree from a B-grade university. Lahey’s cover of Avril Lavigne’s Complicated is a nostalgia trip which she and her bandmates effortlessly place their stamp onto; cheery clean tones and an up-tempo beat. It’s not until Lotto in Reverse that the crowd truly begins to move and sing her songs back to her, echoing the easy to pick up on chorus unprompted. Lahey’s vocals are superb, with surprisingly little difference between the live versions and recorded versions of her songs, and there is a quality to her voice that may draw comparisons to Hayley Williams. While there is room for technical complexity as Alex Lahey grows as an artist, perhaps it would not be completely necessary as what she ultimately delivers is a sense of straight-forward fun combined with down-to-earth but whimsical lyrics that reflect her unique perspective.

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