Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Alex G continues to make waves in and outside the indie music scene

Giannascoli played a versatile mix of old favorites and new hits to a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club
Photo by Justin Hoyos.

Alex G continued his three-show stint at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The set marked his second sold-out concert of the week, filling the venue’s 933 people capacity with passionate fans and the tune of his newest creations and greatest hits.

A Pennsylvania native, Alexander Giannascoli began his professional music career in the early 2010s, building a portfolio and following on the service Bandcamp. After seeing others online reference him under a shortened abbreviation, Alex G was born. His rise to stardom would be just as spontaneous.

After being recruited to play guitar on Frank Ocean’s platinum album, “Blonde,” and subsequently releasing his seventh record, “Rocket,” alternative music lovers became more aware of Giannascoli. However, it wasn’t until the then unreleased 2011 track titled “Treehouse” blew up on TikTok, that the artist’s cult-like following expanded to more widespread popularity.

Spanning from Brown University to Northeastern University, countless college students came together to watch one of indie’s most popular modern figures. Boston University journalism graduate student, David Simon attributed their and other young people’s attraction to Giannascoli as a byproduct of multiple factors.

“He writes it in a way that is simultaneously super depressing, yet super relatable. I can’t really get that with many other artists,” Simon said. “It’s a mix of us fans. If I had to guess it’s a mix of people who got into him from TikTok which is 100 percent great I’m not knocking that, and people who have been into him since “Rocket” and “Grace.”

Photo by Justin Hoyos. 

Giannascoli graced the Paradise Rock Club’s stage for a two-hour set following a brief performance by the tour’s opening act, Australian dream pop singer, Hatchie. The genre-bending stylings hallmarked in Giannascoli’s studio recordings translated through in an equally captivating, impressive nature in his live renditions.

Supported by two guitarists and a drummer, Giannascoli began the show with one of the more experimental tracks of his newest album, “God Save The Animals.” Titled “S.D.O.S.,” it’s 2:50 minute duration utilizes heavy technological voice fluctuations as the song’s tempo, instrumentation, and volume increases   mirroring the song’s abstract, yet few and far in between lyrics.

Setting a tone of certain divergence in just a few short minutes, Giannascoli swiftly transitioned to his latest work’s highest- grossing song, “Runner.” Accumulating 4.7 million streams on Spotify, “Runner” delivers an unmistakable catchy beat, accompanied by Giannascoli’s vocals at peak performance.

Rooted in folk-like guitar and syncopated piano melodies, “Runner,” much like the rest of the album, speaks to the spiritual qualities of even the overlooked, simple components of life. Giannascoli begins crooning, “I like people who I can open up to. Who don’t judge for what I say but judge me for what I do.”

As the song progresses, Giannascoli visibly begins to command the stage — his presence growing in confidence and sound. Belting a signature scream while the crowd roars, the artist and his band began what would be a continuous display of contagious chemistry.

“Quality-wise, Alex [Giannascoli] and his band are just as good as the recording, but they also sound different. It’s something about I’m not sure if it is the instrumentation, or his live energy, but it is something that makes it all feel special,” Simon said.

Though the Nov. 9 show did center around many new pieces of music, Giannascoli made sure to include fan favorites from his earlier years. Spanning from the punkish, heavy rock stylings of “Brick” to the more mellow, acoustic ballad “Bobby,” Giannascoli made sure to provide an eclectic experience custom to his versatile music.

Photo by Justin Hoyos.

This spontaneous authenticity lead up to what would become a highlight of the evening. Giannascoli granted the request of a screaming fan to cover the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic, “Freebird.” Taking to the keyboard in the corner of the stage, Giannascoli showed off his chops on the keys while reading the tune’s lyrics off his own device.

“The fact that he did, “Freebird” is absolutely hilarious. Looking back on the set list for the Boston show before the one I attended, he didn’t have “Freebird” on there.” Simon said. “The man is just a hell of a performer,” they continued.

Giannascoli ended his performance with what would be a seven-song encore, entirely tailored around audience choice. Reading off the phone screens of fans who typed their requests into Snapchat and Instagram stories, Giannascoli selected songs spanning the length of his decade-long career.

Lyrically and musically, Giannascoli curated an intimate, yet all the while thrilling atmosphere. The oftentimes random and relaxed nature of the show only enticed concertgoers to have as much fun as the musicians on stage were having.

“I had a great time. Plus, I had a conversation with someone outside the venue and we completely hit it off. We just had a good time talking about stuff and our different college programs,” Simon said.

Giannascoli’s set conveyed a sense of familiarity to those most engrossed in his discography, while still leaving those just recently bewitched to the “G-man” asking for more. The unmistakable charm of his work keeps listeners forever yearning and guessing for what is to come, a trait any and all music lovers chase.

“The fact they [TikTok users] dug into a 2011 unreleased Alex G song is simultaneously really funny, but really a great sign for his career,” Simon said. “His music, even though it is quite different from song to song, is ultimately universal.”

The European leg of the “God Save the Animals” Tour begins in Spring 2023.

The source, David Simon, uses they/them pronoun.

Shanti Furtado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ShantiFurtado.

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