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Wet Plate Portraits: Alex Lahey At Clwb Ifor Bach

Thursday, 23 May 2019 Written by Laura Johnson

Photograph: Gareth Jarvis

As Gareth Jarvis sets up for the fourth edition of Stereoboard’s wet plate portrait series in the green room of Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff, Alex Lahey eyes his vintage camera with curiosity. “How old is it?” she asks, before getting excited that the antique brass lens has Melbourne engraved on it. “That’s where I’m from!” she exclaims, before listening intently as it’s explained that we’ll be taking her picture with equipment from the 1800s.

Lahey is proud of where she’s from—later in the evening she tells the crowd during her headline set that she likes them, because just like Australians the Welsh “don’t like to fuck around.” She’s not wrong. Despite being a motley crew, those in attendance are united by their shared admiration for Lahey and are not afraid to show it as they whoop and holler their way through her hour-long set.

This Cardiff show lands at the tail end of a UK and Ireland run in support of her recently released second album, ‘The Best of Luck Club’, and she makes it clear that the record will be the focus for the night. Actually, if you were expecting anything else then you’re shit out of luck.

Lahey is joined by fellow Melbourne natives on second guitar, keyboards, and drums, while her bassist hails from Essex—which she says she’ll stop announcing to audiences when they stop laughing, even though she doesn’t get the joke. Together they make a glorious, pitch-perfect pop-punk racket.

True to her word, the lion’s share of the setlist is dedicated to the new album, but any unfamiliarity with the new material is put to bed with the help of introductory anecdotes—Black RMs takes its name from an Australian brand of boot that the majority of the band are wearing, and she admits Isabella is about a clitoral stimulator and was written on a dare.

An acoustic guitar is brought out out by Lahey for her and the keyboardist to deliver a goosebump-inducing, stripped back version of Unspoken History—on record it’s backed by strings and saxophone—and her vocals are mesmerising. As the song finishes it takes us a moment to settle back into the room.

It’s hard to imagine what could top that, but Lahey’s got it covered as she cracks out the sax for a solo during Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself. Guitar on hip, sax in hand, she’s a certified rock ‘n’ roll badass, but not so rock ‘n’ roll that she’s willing to fake leaving the stage for an encore. They’re not going to do any of that “bullshit”.

The crowd’s laughter is quickly drowned out as the band tear through Everyday’s The Weekend and I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself, standout singles from her debut ‘I Love You Like A Brother’. The room erupts into such rapturous applause it could fill a venue twice this size.

She wasn’t here for a long time, but Alex Lahey sure showed us a good time. When we spoke with her earlier this month she told us: “I don’t want the live show to sound like a carbon copy of the record. I want it to have vibe and energy and be a beast of moving parts.” Mission accomplished.

Head here to see more from Gareth Jarvis.

Alex Lahey Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu May 23 2019 - LONDON Oslo

Click here to compare & buy Alex Lahey Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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