Australia’s Alex Lahey isn’t doing anything fancy when she takes the stage — and it’s one of many reasons to love her.
The indie rocker jumped right into things Thursday night at the Troubadour with the lead track from her full-length debut I Love You Like a Brother. The power of her guitar riffs obscured her vocals, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone in attendance. Her riff-driven rock and conversational tone is reminiscent of fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett a bit, but with a more millennial feel to it. She last wowed us closing out 2017 at The Echo.
Lahey also dusted off her comedic chops between songs. She remarked how she was playing in front of a big, confronting banner of her face, saying it had a political vibe like she’s “trying to sell you something”. It connected that she was in fact selling something — herself. As she continues a tour across America, hitting pretty much every music festival, she’s proving successful pushing her tunes. She’ll be at BottleRock Napa this weekend doing more of the same.
Lahey’s brand of indie rock has a bit of early Green Day to it — but more pop punk. A majority of her songs use simple guitar chords but feature Lahey rocking out on memorable solos. Her lyrics are catchy, particularly in the choruses. Even more important — they’re relatable as hell. “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself” hits you right in the heart.
A high point of the set came when Lahey covered a pop punk classic — Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”. I was surprised at how many teens in the crowd knew every word (holy shit, it’s 16 years old). She put more emphasis on the punkness of the sound with distorted guitars, and it went over beautifully.
The biggest pop of the night came when she played album opener “Every Day’s The Weekend”. It’s a song on my wake=up playlist because it provides a jolt like a good cup of coffee. Two girls up front danced with each other and I don’t think they knew each other before the show. It was good times.
Lahey is everywhere this spring. On top of BottleRock Napa and Sasquatch this weekend, she will be at Bonnaroo, Firefly, and Lollapalooza. She also supports Jimmy Eat World on the East Coast. Don’t miss her!
Opening the show was local favorite Veronica Bianqui. Though she played in front of a sparse crowd at the start of her 8:30 PM set, she played as though there were thousands in front of her. Looking lovely in a sparkly red dress, she continues to improve each time I see her. My favorite song still “If Love’s a Gun, I’m Better Off Dead”.
Photos by Tim Aarons