Alex Winston @ New Players Theatre 21st February 2011

Alex Winston is an American musician whose name will be on everybodys lips by the time 2011 has ended. I arrived at the venue just a few minutes after 7pm. The New Players Theatre is situated right next to Heaven. I then went inside, collected my tickets then I chilled out in the bar area. Once 7.30pm arrived I made my way down the stairs then into the theatre. Now this venue was completely surreal. I have never been to a gig which has taken place inside a theatre this small. The capacity is about 250 people and just being in the first row was a weird experience. There was no barrier whatsoever and the stage was touching distance. Opening up the night was the amazing Marques Tolivier. There is a classical feel to his music. Still this short 4 track set was mesmerising. He sang two songs with the Auto Harp and the other two were Violin. Now when Marques performed one track without the aid of the microphone nor violin being plugged in. This was incredible because this is what they are built for. It actually sent a chill up my spine. It was then a 15 minute wait till the second support on the night Sparkadia. This Australian band formed in 2004 and have supported some fantastic bands Pet Shop Boys, The Temper Trap, Elbow to name but a few. a lot more considering I had seen them perform 5 days early. It was nice to see them live again because I enjoyed the 6 track set. The set played was exactly the same as the one at Hoxton minus the Kelis cover.  I predict this band will be the next big thing. They definately have what it takes.  Mary is the first single by the band which was released on the Gold Dust label on 14th February. It also is a fantastic song. I look forward to seeing more of this band in the future.

It was then 30 minutes till the headline slot by Michigan’s very own Alex Winston. Now Alex does not only sing she also writes her own material. She had just signed a record deal earlier on in the day making this night extremely special. Now out of all the NME gigs taking place over the capital I would say this was the best one. I might be slightly biast as I was at this gig but what the audience saw was someone who will most definately flourish. Mini album Sister Wife was released the prior week which features six fantastic tracks. “You didn’t come here to see The Phantom Of The Opera, You came here to see me so please get your arses out of your seats. Everyone I’m not starting till you all stand” Winston told the audience before launching into Last One Standing. Actually I understand what Alex said because it can be a little awkward playing live to people just sitting. You need to know if the audience are enjoying themselves and you can’t really tell if people choose to sit down. Still everyone stood up for this amazing song which went down well with the audience. What surprised me is this song doesn’t feature on the EP. I had initially thought the set would consist of songs from the EP and a few covers added in for good measure. The lyrics are beautiful and Alex’s Sistes Wives harmonise perfectly. Following on is Choice Notes. This is probably the most main stream song as it was used as the background music of the Hyundi adverts in Europe and the UK. It was clear to see that they were having fun on stage. Everyone was standing up clapping along to this uplifting song. So after a round of applause it was then onto Gimme My Heart. This was a real treat as this song does not feature on the EP and I have only heard the demo of this song. Before the song Alex introduced the band which was part British and the fact this was the last show with them. Now this love song Gimme My Heart was both slushy and beautiful. I liked this song and I can see it feature on the debut LP.  “Oh yeah I got a record deal today” Alex told the crowd which resulted in cheers and claps. Winston then launched into Locomotive which was very uptempo and energy just oozes from it. Alex definately has a cracking pair of lungs. Now I adore Sister Wife it is one amazing song. Before starting the song Winston asked for everyone to clap along to this song. Again it is uptempo and the lyrics are extremely infectious. Don’t Care About Anything was delivered to perfection. The song was stripped back and it was just Alex on her guitar. The fact it was stripped back made it both beautiful and lovely. Actually it was slightly spine tingling hearing this song acoustic. The final song of what was a truly special night was Medicine. This song does not appear on the mini album Sister Wife but did appear as a AA side with Choice Notes. Still it was the perfect song to end the night. They all go offstage only to return moments later to perform Ooh La La which they had just put together while in the van. Still for this song everyone was huddled up to sing this catchy song. This song was fun and everyone was clapping along in unison. The lyrics were perfect which Alex just belted out.

SET LIST

Last One Standing
Choice Notes
Gimme My Heart
Locomotive
Sister Wife
Don’t Care About Anything
Medicine

ENCORE

Ooh La La

OVERALL: Even though this gig was ever so special it was a bit of a strange place to play. I could gather that Alex prefers venues that only offers standing. Still there were a few people that decided to sit back down during the set but the majority stood up. The style of the music is contagious pop. You will fall in love with the songs straight away. Having just signed her record deal I reckon Alex Winston is here to stay and is someone to keep tabs on because she has what it takes to be huge.

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