Almost exactly one year ago, I got the chance to see Beach Slang perform at The End here in Nashville. It was a show like no other, and it completely blew me away. I still talk about that show, the memories I made and things that were said on that stage have stayed with me. I don’t know why really. I mean I know why it stayed with me, but I don’t know why it blew me away like that. I guess I just expected some punks to play some cool punk music and I would dance and scream along and that would be it, but it wasn’t.
Last night I got to see Beach Slang again, this time playing Mercy Lounge. Except it wasn’t really Beach Slang, and in some ways it was more. If you are a big fan of Beach Slang or a fan of music in fact, you heard the news that the remaining shows from a few weeks ago until the remainder of this tour would include a solo acoustic set with James Alex, lead singer of Beach Slang. He has addressed these issues and stands behind them. I have to admit I was a bit sad, but I realized thank God some of still have morals. I loved the camaraderie of the group onstage, it was fun to watch them back and forth, telling stories to fill the gaps when Alex would tear the strings apart on his guitar. I was going to miss that during this solo show… Except I didn’t.
The stage was set with simple flowers wrapped with lights around the mic stand. James Alex walks out and says hello, he thanks everyone for coming out and begins to play. First three songs go by in a blur, it could have been because I was at his feet shoving a camera in his face, trying to imprint and hallmark every movement I possibly could from this night. He then addressed the elephant in the room, and so genuinely gave us thanks and praise for still coming to see “just him” perform. I wanted to hug him. He is amazing and he was thanking this crowd for breaking up our busy week to come watch him onstage? The crowd was having none of that though, and continued to scream and clap for him and his music. He played songs from his just released album, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings as he sipped his healthy drink of choice, vodka and orange juice. He took some requests and of course played some covers including the best sounding version of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”, ending the night with a slow acoustic version of “American Girls and French Kisses”.
The relationship James Alex has with his music and the words he screams, shouts and sometimes whispers or growls is brilliant and breathtaking. I don’t only hear the music, I feel the words, I feel the passion he so articulately exclaims. I can relate to the experience and I watch in awe as he sets those words on fire with his guitar.
His relationship with the crowd only grew stronger and stronger each time he spoke. He was extremely kind and gracious and he gave everything on that stage. The bass player, Ed McNulty joined him onstage along with some random guy from the crowd who, after Alex announced if anyone in the crowd knew their songs and could play drums was welcome to join them, completely laid some heavy beats and blended right on in. McNulty is staying on tour with Alex, although is not performing the whole set.
Beach Slang’s anthemic style of music punches you in the heart. The passion and zest are bigger than any room and any stage they stand on. Alex calls it a “gang of fucking romantics” and it’s true. To me, he’s like a punky Dylan. He is a poet and a musician, and his music joins people together and nails the emotions on the wall.
It’s not too late to catch this tour, so many shows left here in the U.S. and Europe. If you can, I highly recommend checking out this solo set, which screams an intimacy we might not get again. A big thanks to Beach Slang and Mercy Lounge for letting me do my thing. Follow Beach Slang through their website where you can also grab some tickets to any remaining shows. Like them on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram…
Oct 19 Zanzabar Louisville, KY
Oct 20 The Southgate Revival Newport, KY
Oct 21 Grog Shop Cleveland, OH
Oct 22 Cattivo Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 24 Rumba Cafe Columbus, OH
Oct 25 The Bishop Bloomington, IN
Oct 26 Old Rock House St Louis, MO
Oct 28 Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN
Oct 29 Codfish Hollow Barn Maquoketa, IA
Oct 30 Reverb Lounge Omaha, NE
Oct 31 The Tank Room Kansas City, MO
Nov 01 George’s Majestic Lounge Fayetteville, AR
Nov 02 89th Street Collective Oklahoma City, OK
Nov 04 Sound on Sound Fest Austin, TX
Nov 05 Sherwood Forest Faire Mcdade, TX
Nov 07 Mono Glasgow, United Kingdom
Nov 08 Scala London, United Kingdom
Nov 09 Brudenell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom
Nov 10 The Haunt Brighton, United Kingdom
Nov 11 Le Guess Who? Festival Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 12 Witloof Room Brussels, Belgium
Nov 13 Knust Hamburg, Germany
Nov 14 LUX Hanover, Germany
Nov 15 Lido Berlin, Germany
Nov 17 Conne Island Leipzig, Germany
Nov 18 Chelsea Bezirk Ottakring, Austria
Nov 19 Albani Winterthur, Switzerland
Nov 20 Ampere Munich, Germany
Nov 21 Sputnikhalle Muenster, Germany
Nov 22 Gebaude 9 Cologne, Germany
Nov 23 La Maroquinerie Paris, France
Nov 25 La 2 d’Apollo Barcelona, Spain
Nov 26 Moby Dick Madrid, Spain
Dec 17 House of Independents Asbury Park, NJ