We try never to miss an Alex Wong show if we can help it. To prove my point, we saw him last night at Rockwood Music Hall, we’ll see him tonight (supporting Ximena Sarinana) and again tomorrow night as a special guest playing with Dave Eggar’s Deoro band. Three nights in a row feels just about right, especially since all three performances will be radically different.
Last night was a classic Alex Wong solo show. I put solo in italics because Alex had three guests, but there’s no doubt that this was an Alex show.
Alex opened with a new-ish song (still unrecorded), Always Something Better. Such a beautiful, deeply true song. We spend way too much time searching for (trying to acquire) fill-in-the-blank. I was thinking that every time I hear the song I realize the truth of it, and of course, the minute it’s over, I’m back to living in the same foolish manner I did before Alex reached me in the moment.
Next, he invited Melissa Tong and David Fallo up to accompany him on Brooklyn Blurs (a song I will never tire of). Since they were on stage already, he followed it up with Don’t Be Afraid. He introduced the song by explaining that the first line came during an argument with a friend, who yelled the line at him. Inspiration comes from many places.
Alex had another special guest up his sleeve, the absolutely incredible Ximena Sarinana (linked above, who he will be supporting at midnight tonight at Bowery Ballroom). Ximena sang harmony on a few numbers and played some notes that sounded like a glockenspiel on an electronic device that looked like a WiFi router.
I told this out of order, because I wanted to say a bunch of nice things about Ximena in a block. The part about playing the WiFi Router came in the very first song, which she also sang harmony on. That’s my back in the next photo, so you can see how close I was to the stage.
Ximena took to the piano later in the set to play and sing a song that she co-wrote with Alex. The song was written in a day, at Dubway Studios, as part of a challenge to write a song while being filmed. I declare them winners in this endeavor! Alex moved off the stage to the corner where the drums are. He played the kick drum and high-hat cymbal while sitting and playing guitar during this song.
It was a slightly surreal experience for me (not necessarily for most of the people at Rockwood). I was right up at the stage. Alex’s guitar amp was four feet to my left, but Alex was eight feet to my right. I could hear the guitar coming from behind me (because I was facing Alex), even though I could see him playing it in front of me. It was a little eerie.
One of the songs that Ximena sang gorgeous harmony on is a song that Alex Wong co-wrote with another of our favorite Alex’s, Alex Berger, called The Fighter. We’ve missed hearing that song, so thanks for that! 🙂
We’ll be at Ximena’s midnight set tonight (it’s part of the Latin Alternative Music Conference Showcase). Any show that Ximena is part of should automatically be labeled a Showcase, because that’s what it will turn into!
I didn’t snag a set list (I’m not sure there was one). So, I can’t tell you every song that was played. What I can tell you, with certainty, is that Alex closed the show with another new-ish (unrecorded) song that he co-wrote with Nate Campany. It’s called Are You Listening (but secretly, I will continue to call it the “Yeah Yeah Yeah” song, like I did until I knew the title, even though there are four Yeah’s in a row, not three, sue me!).
Alex invited us to sing the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” part. He might have meant only at the end, when it continues to build a few times in a row. I didn’t care, I sang it from the first time he sang it, reasonably loudly. Perhaps no one noticed, since I was in front, singing toward the stage. When we likely were supposed to sing, I heard many people joining in. If it’s not completely obvious, I’m in love with this song.
Alex is producing and recording a solo album for release later this year (at least I think that’s the plan). I can’t wait, because a number of the songs that will be on it can only be heard when Alex blows through NYC on occasion.