Concert review by Scarlett A. Lee
It was a very nice night in the city of Angels, the crowd was a sea of people, young and old alike, and even a few teens that were there under the watchful eyes of their parents. All lining up at the Fonda Theatre to see the British singer formerly known as Alexander G. Muertos, who now goes by Alex Clare.
Truth be told, a good number were most likely there due to Clare’s success of his mega-hit Too Close, which was featured in Internet Explorer 9 commercials. I will be the first to admit that I may have thought of Clare as having the potential of being a one hit wonder. That is, success awarded as a result of a commercial. This feat helped Clare catapult to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. If the sold out crowd was any indication, I thought they must know something about Clare that I did not. I was totally unaware that I was about to be schooled.
The curtain went up not long after ten p.m. and the crowd went wild. Clare appeared onstage looking every bit like a young Vincent Van Gogh with simple, modest dress, hat, and a full red beard. Alex and his three piece band opened the show with the deeply soulful Relax My Beloved, a track that leaves you imagining a very passionate argument between a couple in an intense love/hate relationship. Next came the haunting and dreamy Whispering, followed by Tight Rope. At the close of the song, Alex made mention of the very distinctive aroma of marijuana wafting through the air, then reminding himself that he was indeed in California, after all.
By now, even though Alex had spent a good portion of the show standing stoic with microphone in hand, it was obvious that he was pouring his heart and soul into this performance, and this was evident as he was drenched in sweat. His keyboard player took a different route in regards to his performance, with his very physical playing and gesturing which I would describe as nothing short of kick ass.
They continued their bluesy tour de force with Hummingbird, I Love You, and covers of Etta James’ Damn Your Eyes, and Prince’s When Doves Cry. Clare made both of these songs uniquely different from the originals, but managed to completely own it. The more upbeat Treading Water had Clare censoring his own lyrics, opting for the line Mess things up as opposed to the more vulgar alternative original lyrics. Next was the edgy rock like Up All Night with it’s almost raunchy bass lines and sharp drums.
At the close of the song, Alex took a break and left the stage in the capable hands of his band mates, the three of whom managed to kick the energy level up quite a few notches with an almost sonic five minute jam that shook the ground beneath my feet and had the crowd bobbing and cheering in response.
Alex returned and the band made their leave. Clare then played two acoustic covers; Heddie Ledbetter’s Goodnight Irene, which was the first song he learned to play on the guitar, and Gyptian’s Hold Yuh, which again found Clare carefully censoring the lyrics for vulgarity.
The band then returned, and the all too familiar opening of his hit Too Close whipped the crowd into a frenzy, many singing along enthusiastically all while managing to hold their phones in the air to capture pictures and video. Alex closed the show with one more acoustic song I Won’t Let You Down which brought the feel of the room way back down to an almost sleepy, relaxed level and I think left his fans spent and satisfied.
Regardless of my initial opinion, I left thinking that Clare has the capability and sheer vocal talent to be a powerhouse in this business, that is if fickle consumers do not move on too quickly and buy into the hype of the next big thing fed to them by the mainstream media.
Alex Clare is currently on tour in North America in support of his debut album The Lateness Of The Hour. He will be returning to L.A. for a sort of coming out party as he plays the much ballyhooed KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas on December 9th. It looks like this will be a very Happy Holiday for Alex Clare and his band mates.
Clare’s music is available in stores now and at a variety of online outlets such as iTunes. For more information on Alex Clare go to http://www.alexclare.com or his social media pages at Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Check out TNN’s photos from the show here!