Rex Orange County along with his incredibly talented band hit the stage at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Wednesday night. Alex O’Connor, his stage name being Rex Orange County, first got big from his debut album in 2015, and has continued to grow his fan base with now over twelve million monthly listeners on Spotify. The UK singer has truly reinvented the indie pop genre with mixing hints of jazz and R&B into the majority of his songs.
Although this was Alex’s first time performing in Santa Barbara, he certainly has a large fan base in town. There was no opener, but that was not a problem at all. The crowd was already super hyped up to see him and didn’t need any warming up to start singing and dancing along to his energetic music.
Alex opened with three songs off of his newest album, and then sprinkled in some older tunes from his other albums such as Pony or Apricot Princess. Halfway through the first half of his nearly hour and 45 minute long set, Alex sang a heartfelt cover of “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton. It was a great break in between some energetic songs to connect with the audience. Some other song highlights of his set were “Corduroy Dreams” (solo), “Never Enough” (full band), and “WHO CARES?” (full band), which included colorful beach balls thrown into the audience to play around and dance with at the end.
Santa Barbara marks the halfway point of the U.S. leg of the WHO CARES? tour, but Alex and his band make it feel like it’s their first show back with the amount of energy they have. Alex seems like an incredibly kind person, and that’s reflected through his performance and words throughout the show- which is something that is hard to find in this industry nowadays. If you ever have the opportunity to go to a Rex Orange County show, take it. Alex’s shows just have an energy like no other and are something that everyone deserves to experience.
Words and photos by Paige Good