REVIEW: (Sandy) Alex G (The Sinclair 7/5)

It’s a rare occurrence to walk out of a show and immediately know to bookmark the evening because you’ll bring it up constantly for years to come. On Wednesday night, there’s a case to be made that there is yet another entry into the nostalgia archives with (Sandy) Alex G’s Sinclair Show.

Alex Giannascoli and his band is touring in support of Rocket, a critically acclaimed album that is already showing high marks on 2017 mid-year best-of lists. Fortunately for all of us, the songs that comprise Rocket sound incredible in a live setting.

Molly Germer, who plays violin on the record, joined the band on stage for some songs. Perhaps one of the best runs in the set started with “Poison Root,” with Germer’s violin and drummer Tom Kelly’s frenetic energy. That was followed by “Brick,” the wall of noise where Giannascoli tosses off the line “I know that you’re lying” with a visceral affect. The run concluded with the downbeat piano ballad “Sportstar.”

After playing through a defined setlist that included almost all of Rocket, Giannascoli opened it up to the audience for requests. It is one of the few times where taking requests didn’t seem disingenuous — though all of the songs chosen are obviously in the repertoire, the band seemed to really take the requests, rather than have selective hearing. That’s pretty cool.

(Sandy) Alex G’s set literally ended as it began: with a blisteringly loud recording of “Life Is A Highway” by Rascal Flatts as heard in the motion picture Disney/Pixar’s Cars. There is no real clever hook to go with this, because I’ve been trying to come up with one … all night long.

Japanese Breakfast and Cende are serving as support on the tour. If the term “stacked bill” wasn’t used to such a nauseating degree, I’d call it that.

Japanese Breakfast’s set mixed pop and rock, with cuts from Psychopomp and the forthcoming album Soft Sounds from Another Planet, due out next week. One highlight: “Machinist” with singer Michelle Zauner’s spoken word introduction and spacey instrumentation. Another: “Road Head,” which is its own musical journey. If you missed the set, the Sinclair had you covered – the band returns this fall with a headlining show at the venue.

Brooklyn’s Cende kicked things off with a set of driving rock. Set-opener “Bed” is an earworm of a song; Cameron Wisch’s delivery, with its elongated “I can’t get o-o-o-out” is just begging for singalongs.

When we’re tallying up favorite shows, this lineup will surely be among the top of the list.

(Sandy) Alex G Setlist:

Poison Root
Powerful Man
Brite Boy

Watch (Sandy) Alex G’s show from the Music Hall of Williamsburg from 7/6, courtesy of Pitchfork, below: