GIG REVIEW: Alex Lahey @ The Deaf Institute
Returning to Manchester for the second time this year for her first headline show, (her only other gig before this being a support act at the Albert Hall in February), Melbourne’s Alex Lahey arrived in the city fresh off the back of the release of her first full album ‘I Love You Like a Brother’. Released in October on her own label Nicky Boy Records and with plenty of buzz in the music world it goes without saying that we were incredibly excited as what was to follow.
The Deaf Institute is a unique venue and fit Lahey to a T – the first thing that I noticed before Alex came on stage was the audience split 50/50 with those who were standing, leaving the rest sat down toward the back of the venue but by the end of her set there weren’t many people left sat down. In my eyes, the sign of a job well done.
Inspired by artists such as Dolly Parton and Bruce Springsteen – notably two musicians the up-comer considers to be among the greatest songwriters of all time – Alex Lahey makes her stamp with a fiery Punk punch to her songs amalgamating to have more than a passing resemblance to a somewhat popp-ier Karen O or Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell. Launching into her hour long set with the opening track from her album ‘Everyday’s The Weekend’, the strongest track from the album and a personal contender for single of the year, I felt that this was a brave move. With a limited back catalogue, where do you go from there? However, Alex continued on from a brilliant opener to capture the main hall at the Deaf Institute by the end of the gig like a seasoned professional and not a 24-year-old touring her first full record.
Fully engaged with the audience, Lahey chatted and joked between songs clearly showing her appreciation to her audience with impeccable presence. With fans travelling to Manchester – and many of whom had been to her various dates across the country – she flew through tracks off both her new album and her previous EP ‘B-Grade University’, finding the time to include a storming cover of ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglia. Having already supported the likes of At The Drive In and The Kills and with millions of Spotify streams racking up, watching this intimate show you can’t help but feel that in years to come headlining venues like the Apollo or beyond, you’ll be able to say you were there first.
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