This composed and talented Aussie singer performed a set that proved herself undeniably worthy of the frenetic praise surrounding her recent releases.

11/15/2017 – Great Scott

Alex Lahey’s roadie has a pretty great job.

Lahey’s drummer, Lachlan McGeehan, walked into Great Scott, and handed the roadie takeout from one of the many Asian restaurants on Harvard Ave. The smell of what I assumed to be Lo Mein wafted through the small venue. The rest of the band, guitarist Samuel Humphrey and bassist Jonathan Skourletos, took off their layers and chilled on the back wall to watch their openers and peruse their phones. With their blasé attitudes and plaid shirts, these guys fit right in with Allston.

I monitored the roadie’s every move, fascinated with his life. He took a step outside for a smoke break. That’s when I saw her, in all her alt-cool girl glory. Alex Lahey sharing a cigarette and chat with the aforementioned roadie, illuminated by a neon PBR sign. It was hard to believe she would be playing on Late Night with Seth Meyers the following evening.

Before stepping on stage, the band grabbed what seemed to be hundreds of Poland Spring water bottles and kissed each other on the cheek, an adorable pre-show tradition I was lucky enough to catch. Hydration is indeed key kids, because the second Lahey and her band went into the driving opening anthem to I Love You Like A Brother, “Everyday’s the Weekend,” everyone in Great Scott, even those too-cool Allston types, strode toward the stage with a mesmerized sway.

Australians are cool. That’s the impression Lahey and company’s performance gave off. They remained in an easy-going, and at times reserved state throughout the show. Instead of focusing on providing entertaining stage-banter, the band treated us to a nearly pitch-perfect performance. Humphrey and Skourletos played with such proficiency that it sounded like they were playing audio from the studio tracks. They moved in sync, stepping to and away from the mic to back Lahey with their impeccable vocals.

Lahey herself has some killer pipes. Somehow, she has the depth and richness of an alto, with an insane range that reaches well into soprano notes. The emotion revealed in her vocal runs, whines, and cracks allow the listener to glimpse into something deeper behind her nonchalant exterior. McGeehan’s drumming enveloped their sound in a warm, snug blanket, as he kept perfect time to all songs, from upbeat and driving, to slowed-down and brooding.

After a particularly thrilling performance of “Ivy League,” a man in the audience voiced what everybody was thinking: “Fuck yeah!”

Lahey echoed with a laugh and a “Fuck yeah” of her own.

In a pause between songs, Lahey told a story about a previous show, where a woman told her boyfriend she loved him for the first time. The story reverberated with me. Looking around Great Scott, I realized how appropriate her music was for a point in someone’s life where they can still have first times. The influence from early-2000’s alternative rock elicited a sense of nostalgia every twenty-something in that room could relate to, especially when she played a cover of “Torn,” made famous by Natalie Imbruglia.

While reminding us of easier times, something about Alex Lahey’s blunt and sincere lyrics point out: you’ve gone through so much, but have so much left to learn. It’s an exciting concept to the young-adult who feels like life moves fast. An older man in the crowd had come to support one of the opening acts, but stuck around for Lahey’s set. Even at his age, this was a first for him. Maybe he thought “I could get into this,” as he stood to side of the crowd.

All the while, the roadie packed gear by the stage as everything unfolded. They had to leave immediately after the show to head to New York.

The concert really came to life in the moments of intimacy and vulnerability. In the highlight of the night the band walked off-stage, leaving only Lahey and a backtrack. She began “There’s No Money,” the closer to I Love You Like A Brother, with a fragile voice she hadn’t yet displayed. Watching her walk back and forth on stage, eyes to the ground or closed, felt as if we were watching her comfortably jamming alone in her bedroom. When Lahey sang “We can’t marry even if we want to,” it added emotional dimension, given the day before Australia had legalized same-sex marriage. “Australia’s a little behind, but we got there!” (If you want a taste of what watching this song felt like, listen to the new version of “There’s No Money” she released Thursday afternoon.)

As she finished her set with fan favorites “Let’s Go Out,” and “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me,” it was exciting to realize that we may be witnessing someone on the precipice of stardom.

That being said, Lahey’s musical prowess deserves more than to be treated like a cool Australian student studying abroad.The increased attendance and traction she’s gained internationally in the few months since her first show at Great Scott should prove hers is a special talent.

On the last chord of her set, in a feat of stunning choreography, Lahey threw her guitar at the roadie from the stage, who caught it flawlessly and put it in its case. They were ready to hit the road for NYC, and beyond.

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