Walking down to the Arts Club to watch the latest alternative pop band to hit the scene, I thought about how appropriate it was that they had to come to this city. Liverpool: The home of the original alternative pop band.
Alexander arrived on the Newcastle music scene in 2012 and were soon on the road bringing their catchy tunes to the nation. With their single “Say Hello” gaining television exposure on Hollyoaks, they were clearly heading in the right direction. I just hoped they could maintain and recreate the energy that I was hearing in their recorded music, on stage.
Support act, Halem, opened the night bringing a sound that is similar to CHVRCHES, but with an injection of dance beats. Next up were local boys VYNCE and with their solid drum beats and buzzing guitar riffs firmly grasping the crowd’s attention, I felt like I was listening to Foals from their Antidotes era.
Alexander took to the stage in darkness, only their silhouettes visible as they set up. They immediately broke into their set with “Drive”, clearly a popular one judging by the reaction of the crowd. It was immediately clear that frontman Anth Snowdon and guitarist Jamie Clark share an equally commanding presence on stage. Their enjoyment and clear relaxation showed as Jamie walked up to the crowd prompting Anth to jokingly give him the middle finger.
The big sound of their music definitely suits the large crowd audiences that you can see they are heading for. “The Pick Up” starts with only the guitar and builds to the bridge where the glaringly bright lights and guitar solo ensure you realise you’re at the crescendo. The music then drops off to only Anth signing the main hook “Pick up pick up/From where we left off” – perhaps by the end of the song this lyric line starts to feel a bit tired, but initially it works to good effect.
Even though this was only their second time playing Liverpool, judging by the fans pressed up against the barrier even before the first support act had come on, you could tell that they’ve been working hard to build a fan base. It paid off, as the crowd sung along to their favourite songs like “Gemini” and “You Lost Yourself”. When they introduced their final song “Four AM”, I assumed it was an old classic due to the reception it received. It was only once I got home however, that I realised it was actually their newest release but had been embraced by fans and critics alike.
By the end of the set, however, the sense of overworked routines had returned. I lost the feeling of enthusiasm that there was at the start of the show due to the choreographed cries of “put your hands in the air” and “make some noise Liverpool”. I felt the rest of the crowd thinking this when the band walked off the stage after the performance of their final song, waiting for the cries of an encore that never came.
Alexander had definitely assured me of the devotion to their music with their performance. The fresh sound of their new songs shows that musically they are headed in a direction which could take them a long way. I just hope that they can keep those playful sounds in their performances and not let the choreographed routines get in the way.
Words: Chris Cannell