Monday, 1 October 2018

Rex Orange County @ Vicar St, Dublin

Last Sunday night, English singer-songwriter Rex Orange County (real name Alex O’Connor), played a sold out show in one of Dublin’s most iconic, intimate venues, Vicar St.

This was very much a stripped-back show in comparison to his evening set at Reading festival a few weeks ago. I mean, the giant screens, confetti cannons and other gimmicks are great sometimes, but I think only a really talented artist can capture you in the same way with nothing but their band and a simple backdrop. It’s fun to see artists and bands do both, just to see how they fare out.

There were no support acts for this night of Rex’s tour - instead, the twenty year old appeared promptly onstage at half eight, followed by his band, and for an hour, indulged the crowd in his trademark blend of pop meets jazz meets indie-folk, with a little r&b for good measure.

We sat down the back, on the raised seats among the random parents who’d been dragged along, because hey, we’re old now, but also we had a perfect view of the stage in the 1500 cap. room. It turned out to be perfect, because we could just sit and chill and watch the band play their little hearts out during the slower ballads. There’s something really nice about just sitting and really watching a band play, especially when it’s a song you don’t know and you’re getting to hear it and experience it for the first time live, right in front of you. Sometimes it’s just really nice to chill out and get lost in some live music for a while.

We had a few of those lovely moments, and then several moments where the crowd just lost their shit to tracks like Sunflower, and sang as loudly as they possibly could during the refrains of Best Friend. My particular favourites were Apricot Princess and Television / So Far So Good, but above all, there’s really nothing quite like closing out a set with an entire room belting out the words to Loving Is Easy, under the soft pink lighting.

Rex’s show just felt special, I guess. He is a talented musician, and a witty, clever songwriter, but the intimacy of the venue and the pure passion of the crowd in front just added that little something more. I think what was nice about it was that it felt like I was viewing the whole show, from the back, almost as a sort of outsider. Don't get me wrong, I do like his music, and obviously enjoy his shows, but it’s cool to watch the kids who really love his stuff losing their minds to their favourite songs, and watching how he reacts to such joy and love.

Plus I’ve had Loving Is Easy on non-stop loop in my head for the last twenty four hours, which is always a sign of a good show, right?
Ciara Pollock © . Design by FCD.