Local Current Blog

Review and photos: Alex Lahey makes Wednesday a weekend at the Turf Club

Alex Lahey. Photos by Lucy Hawthorne for MPR.

The spirited energy of the Turf Club on a Wednesday was succinctly conveyed in one of Alex Lahey’s catchy tunes: “So what, you’re here/ Every day’s the weekend.” Complete with shouted choruses, emphatic head bobbing, and plenty of dancing, Lahey transformed an otherwise typical weekday night into an honorary weekend.

The Australian singer-songwriter released her newest album, Best of Luck Club, in May as a follow-up to her 2017 debut full length I Love You Like a Brother. Between songs Lahey quipped, “We’re playing lots from my new record. Second album, I’m sweating bullets.” Between the glowing critical reviews of the album and the reassuring shouts from the crowd, it’s safe to say there is no reason to sweat over how the record was received.

Before Lahey and her band entered, the stage was bathed in red light and the indie rock that had been playing over the house speakers was swapped for the opening chords of My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade.” The antsy crowd yelled along the words to the emo anthem and erupted in wild applause as Lahey and other members of her five-piece band made their way on to the stage. Without introduction, they burst into the exuberant FOMO anthem off Best of Luck Club, “I Don’t Get Invited to Parties Anymore.”

After a couple tracks, Lahey took a moment to introduce her band, taking special care to call attention to the fact that it was drummer Jess Elwood’s birthday. Without a moment’s hesitation, the venue sang “Happy Birthday” to the musician. Lahey responded with a smile and commented, “That must have been the whole ‘Midwest nice’ thing I’ve been hearing about.”

Few artists can maintain a sense of intimacy alongside confidant, poised musicianship, but Lahey balanced the two with the grace of a seasoned performer. Lahey’s songs focus on the intricacies and shortcomings of interpersonal relationships, and the During the intimate ballad “Unspoken History,” Lahey traded her electric guitar for an acoustic one and only her keyboard player remained on stage with her. As the emotional song reached its climax during the final iteration of the chorus, the duo delivered a goosebumps-inducing crescendo.

During one of the final numbers of the evening, Best of Luck Club’s lead single “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself,” Lahey whipped out an alto saxophone. To the surprise and the delight of everyone in attendance, she expertly dove into a solo during the bridge of the song. Immediately upon setting down the instrument, she bounded back to the mic to close out the triumphant chorus. The St. Paul crowd definitely didn’t miss the moment when Lahey namedropped a bit of local history with the line “You pick me up like Coach Bombay,” a reference to Emilio Estevez’s character in the 1992 Minnesota movie The Mighty Ducks.

With the same earnest and personable energy that she maintained all evening, Lahey told the crowd, “Okay, you’ve treated us well all night so we’ll do the same. We don’t do encores or anything so these are really our last two.” She encouraged the crowd to bring all their energy to the end of the set to which the already giddy Turf Club gleefully obliged. Lahey and her band were all smiles for the final two songs,  “Every Day’s the Weekend” and “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself,” both from 2017’s I Love You Like A Brother. Like Lahey’s recorded catalog, her performance at the Turf Club was a celebration of vulnerability and honorary weekends.

Opener Kingsbury originated from Melbourne, Florida — across the world from Lahey’s native Melbourne, Australia. She carried herself with the fiery confidence of an experienced pop star. Though she has yet to release a full-length album or EP, Kingsbury’s performance was electrifying in a way that sets up her for a vibrant career in the years to come.

Setlist
I Don’t Get invited to Parties
Am I Doing It Right?
Awkward Exchange
Black RMs
Interior Demeanor
I Want to Live with You
Unspoked History
I Love You Like a Brother
You Don’t Like People Like Me
Misery Guts
Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
Every Day’s the Weekend
I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself

Kingsbury

Alex Lahey