Alex Lahey hasn’t been taking care of herself, but if her live show tells us anything, it’s that she’s going to take care of us just fine.
When artists are as true to themselves as they are to their audience, it’s relatively easy for them to completely enchant onlookers. There’s a certain hypnotic magic that flows through the air and penetrates the heart of an adoring crowd that is completely unmatched by anything else in the natural world. It’s that flowing euphoria that, no matter what the song’s content is, fills up every member of a crowd with a warm glow that stays with them long after the final notes have been played. And, at her Sydney leg – and the opening leg - of the Huge And True tour, it’s something that ALEX LAHEY has down pat.
She’s an inherently humble artist, stepping on to the stage with a centred energy that radiates throughout every one of her songs, despite easily being one of Australia’s most hyped up-and-comers. The release of her debut album, I Love You Like A Brother, last year only cemented everyone’s suspicions about her – that she is a superstar in the making. From the moment that first guitar strum of her album’s title track vibrated through every extension of every limb in a packed out Factory Theatre, it became clear that she’s no longer a superstar in the making. No, she’s already there.
Her overwhelming energy as a performer was ricocheting off the walls as, with hair over her face and passion in her voice, she sang with everything she had and the crowd returned the favour and then some. As she smashed her way through tracks like ‘Let’s Call It A Day’, ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder’ and ‘Wes Anderson’, it was impossible not to notice the adoration and affection that was beaming from those around you. With nothing more than a killer band, a killer voice and an impeccable knack for songwriting, Lahey was in complete command of everyone’s attention. Not to mention, the added bonus of her storytelling – particularly with an anecdote about the movie Coco – had the crowd laughing and cheering just as hard.
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When we caught up with Lahey earlier this year, one thing she noted is how much she enjoyed creating and producing “happy/sad” songs – songs that’ll make you dance with less than positive lyrical content. While she is certainly making a name for herself in that area of songwriting, she also decided to take on one of the defining happy/sad songs of the millennium – ‘Complicated’ by Avril Lavigne. Having covered Natalie Imbruglia’s version of ‘Torn’ on previous tours, Lahey decided to take her cover repertoire up to a pop/punk notch with this 2003 slammer. Naturally, as soon as the chorus erupted with ‘Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?’, the very walls of the Factory Theatre began to quiver and the ground began to shake. Alex Lahey was unleashing an earthquake of repressed teen angst in a crowd of predominantly 20 somethings and it was cathartic to say the least.
Above all else, what Alex Lahey has mastered is an injection of honesty and vulnerability into her lyrics about the most niche and mundane aspects of life that we all endure every day. And, in splendid and explosive fashion, that honesty was poured out to the audience incessantly. As she slammed her way through her three biggest hits – ‘Every Day’s The Weekend’, ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ and, of course, ‘I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself’ – you could almost feel this collective release from the crowd. It was as if we were all being exorcised from what haunts our lives most, and there was a warm comfort that having Lahey on stage made you feel. Her energy was electric, but it was inviting. As you got a second to catch your breath and peer around, it looked like everyone was safe and everyone was beaming. If only for a few moments, she made the crowd feel like everything was going to be okay and their worries need not worry them right now.
Perhaps it’s true that Alex Lahey hasn’t been taking care of herself, but if her Factory Theatre show tells us anything, it’s that she’s going to take care of us just fine.
Catch Alex Lahey on her remaining tour dates:
Thurs Apr 12
The Waratah Hotel
Sat Apr 12
Words by JACKSON LANGFORD
Image via Alex Lahey's website