Alex G’s Sold Out Record Release Show is a Night to Remember

Photography by Amanda Silberling

Before the final show on Alex G‘s record release tour, Gabby Smith of Eskimeaux says to me, “This is the show we’ve been waiting for.” The First Unitarian Church began to flood with eager fans right when doors opened, making it obvious why Smith and her tour mates Girlpool and Alex G felt so emotional about their final show in Philadelphia. With a four-band bill in which every act has some form of rooting in Philly, Smith was right to assume that this would be a night to remember.

Brandon Can’t Dance (Brandon Ayres) kicked off the show with his inventive one-man performance, using a looper pedal to create compounding electronic layers during each song of his set. As a long-time friend of Alex G and Eskimeaux, Brandon Can’t Dance is a fitting opener for this set; he and Smith both had dreamed of playing at the Church since high school.

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Next up was Eskimeaux, who considered Brandon Can’t Dance to be a major influence when she first started writing music. She parlays his electronic energy into her set, yet spices up the sound with her guitar-driven pop. During her set, Gabby Smith refers to this as her “dream show,” telling the crowd about how she used to go to shows at the Church when she was younger. For “Broken Necks,” a song that climaxes with the lyric, “Nothing in this world is holier than friendship,” Eskimeaux invited Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker of Girlpool on stage to sing backing vocals, making the crowd go wild. Wearing a Girlpool t-shirt and an Alex G sweatshirt, it’s clear that Smith isn’t kidding when she tells the crowd about how excited she is to be on tour with these bands.

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Though Girlpool only moved to Philly from L.A. last year, the local fans at the Church treat them like they’ve been ours forever. The zany duo plays their debut full-length Before The World Was Big in near entirety, making the crowd shiver with each and every one of Tividad and Tucker’s show-stopping harmonies. The two best friends are in perfect sync on stage, making for a bizarre, yet touching performance.

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What happens when someone who rose to fame through his DIY bedroom recordings finally signs to a major label? Alex G’s recent release Beach Music may not have premiered on Bandcamp, but if Alex G’s homecoming indicated anything, it’s that Alex G will stay true to his roots no matter what label he signs to. Though the Temple grad occupies a near-legend status in the Philly scene, he still seems shy on stage, barely speaking to his crowd of eager fans. Taking a leaf out of Eskimeaux’s book, Alex G invites Girlpool on stage to sing “Brite Boy” with him, and Tividad and Tucker dance on the Church’s stage as though it’s a homecoming dance, rather than a homecoming show. With seven full-length albums under his belt, Giannascoli has a lot of material to draw from, but he plays a longer set combining older tunes with the new hits from Beach Music. By the end of the set, Alex starts taking requests from his longtime fans in the crowd, ending the show on just as emotional a note as Gabby Smith predicted.

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What was your favorite act of the night? Let us know in the comments! 

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