Tuesday saw the return of alt-pop queen Alex Winston to New York — her first show in the 212 in over a year. It seems Winston herself was unto pleased with this delay, as she revealed her frustrations to the cheers of the packed hall: “I can’t believe this is my first show here in over a year—it’s f*cking ridiculous”.
There was a palpable energy in the air, propelled by openers Deirdre and The Dark (Deirdre from Savoir Adore’s solo effort) and the Pittsburgh natives 1, 2, 3. Fans of Winston’s music were visible in the crowd, mouthing the words to her string of indie pop anthems that have sprinkled the blogosphere over the past year: ‘Sister Wife’, ‘Locomotive’ and ‘Velvet Elvis’.
Winston and her ‘Sister Wives’ (fronted by main backup and expert harmonizer Ms. Sara Kliger) have been quite busy promoting her debut LP King Con overseas—and despite forming a new band for her North American dates, the arrangements were as tight knit as on the record. Drummer Zach Nicita perfectly held the tempo changes on such tracks as opener ‘Fire Ant’, and the fast moving ‘Run Rumspringa’. Winston’s piercing voice was impeccably on pitch throughout the entire show, showcasing her classical training and the years of performance she has under her (at 18 she opened for Chuck Berry).
On the reworked slow-roller version of my personal favorite ‘Guts’, a harmony trio accompanied Winston shyly as she belted the chorus: “My bodies full of guts and other stuff / My body’s full enough”—an intimate moment to the mainly up tempo set.
In watching Winston perform, there’s no doubt of the talent or presence of this should-be mainstream alt rock chanteuse. As she fell into the hands of a crowd surf during the opening bars to closer ‘Medicine’, it was obvious that Alex Winston is, and always will be a rock star. It’s just when and where the rest of the world catches on that remains to be seen.
Check out the stellar video for her single ‘Choice Notes’, shot in her native Detroit: (Dir. by. Austin Peters)
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and pick up her debut LP King Con, out now via Cooperative Music/V2.
Photo by Jeff Williams