Alejandro Aranda as Scarypoolparty Surprises First Avenue

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I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I watched American Idol. It had to have been Kelly Clarkson’s season or something that old. I remember thinking that, although I didn’t like the basis of the show, there were some truly talented people that graced that stage and deserve so much more than the place that they got in the competition. All of that being said, when my friend let me know that we were going to be going to see Alejandro Aranda at First Avenue, I didn’t hesitate (okay, maybe I hesitated a little but that was just because, like usual, there were a million shows on Tuesday night that I wanted to go to). Alejandro, also known as Scarypoolparty, was one of the contestants on American Idol that didn’t win but seemed to have the world behind him and I had to see his talent for myself.

Sucré (Stacy King) kicked the night off with a set that provided the packed audience with an electronic yet calming set. The music was energetic without being upbeat in some strange way. I watched in awe as Stacy moved flawlessly between keyboards and computers creating a beautiful soundscape that truly had me lost in the music. Majority of the set was just Sucré on stage but the addition of a drummer (who happened to be the same drummer as the headliner) brought more energy to the set than I thought possible. Although the music was still spacey and almost lo-fi at times, there was an undeniable sense of energy that came from the stage throughout the set. The sound of Sucré was definitely something outside of my normal comfort zone, there was something familiar about the music– or Stacy’s aura. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until this morning when I was reading up on this talented woman and realized that she was the frontwoman for Eisley- a band from back in the day that, although I didn’t obsess over, definitely took over my daily playlist for a couple of months. Adding that connection to an already stunning set has me planning on spending most of my day not only reliving my teenage years by jamming out to Eisley, but also digging into Sucré’s music and falling in love with it more than I already did last night.

The changeover between Sucré and Alejandro Aranda was quick and you could definitely feel the anticipation in the room as the house lights went down and the screen concealing the stage went up. The roar of applause from the audience was deafening and, with no hesitation, Alejandro and his band kicked into a set that stunned the audience in both good and bad ways. Full disclosure, I had no clue who Alejandro was when walking into the show last night. I knew nothing about what he did on American Idol and only had my friend’s word that this guy was good. I was cautiously optimistic and really had no bar set for his performance. I was alone on my boat of ignorance. Many in the audience was there to hear the guy they fell in love with on American Idol… the guy that should have won instead of getting runner-up. What they got was something completely different. 

After the show, I watched Alejandro’s American Idol audition video and I get it. This guy is beyond talented. From his beautiful piano playing to his intricate guitar work all topped off with his silky smooth voice, this man truly has it. I understood why people at the show may have been a bit confused as Alejandro Aranda took the stage and played a set full of electronic noises, infectious beats, and auto-tuned vocals. There’s a difference between Alejandro who as on Idol and Scarypoolparty who showed up at First Avenue. And like seeing an artist who is in two different bands with different styles, that’s sometimes hard for some fans to understand.  Although it wasn’t what people were expecting, being completely clueless, I found the set enjoyable. The music fell in line with Sucré’s set with the way it was infectious and upbeat but yet also somehow soothing. Think The Neighborhood had The Neighborhood never released “Sweater Weather” and never blown up to a stadium-size band before disappearing into the sunset. It may have been different but, taken at face value, it was a great set that I could definitely get behind.

Between the electronic styled songs, Alejandro gave the audience a glimpse into that beautiful piano playing that made him a favorite on American Idol. Although I loved the set as a whole, those piano interludes between songs were definitely my favorite moments from his short set. As a piano player myself, I recognized the difficulty of the lines of notes he was playing. He made it look simple and did it with a sense of passion that was undeniably stunning. He honestly could have just played the piano for a couple of hours and I would have been more than content with my night. It wasn’t until the end that he broke out the acoustic guitar and played a couple more “traditional” songs for the audience and you could tell the audience had been waiting for it. It was a stunning end to an already beautiful night and, although different than what some people expected, as someone who had no previous knowledge of Alejandro / Scarypoolparty , I thought it was a great set.

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8 Comments

  1. Nice review, thank you! Alejandro is definitely not the “One Trick Pony” that many accused him of being during his run on Idol. Those of us who have followed him since then were prepared for – and welcomed – this expansion. Those who had not – and expected what they’d seen on TV – were probably in shock! His versatility and talent is undeniably incredible. I had the opportunity to see him and his band in Sacramento and Portland, followed by an amazing acoustic show in Seattle, thanks to a gas leak and venue change. All three shows were stunning and I can’t wait to see him again! As a side note, the drummer for both artists is Darren King, Stacy’s husband.

  2. Since you have played piano on YouTube you will find a piece called Blessed. An abbreviated version was played on AI. There is also a longer version also on YouTube. On Blesser he sings along while he plays incredible runs on this song. Singing and playing runs. Also I think on this one some of the medley is played with the left hand, not the right.

  3. Thank you, for such an open minded review. Scarypoolparty, is just an amazing artist, that you can’t put in a box. He has so many layers of beautiful melodic beats, whether that be with his harder industrial style music or his piano or acoustic sets. He is truly mesmerizing to watch, and like the judges once said, “you feel like you’re in the presence of greatness.” Alejandro Aranda along with the legendary Darren King, Max Diaz, and Travis Couch all together perform an emotionally charged, genre switching, and memorable night of awesome artistry! This kid is changing the music scene, and he’s making the world stop and take notice of him! Bravo!🤟💎🦄🐐💣💥

  4. Thank you for the good review. As Alejandro’s fan, I am indeed proud of him. And just in case you do not know, he writes all his songs -lyrics and music! He is incredible!

  5. Thank you for this review.

    I was there that night, knew he would be doing a smorgasbord of music, and enjoyed every minute of it.

    I’m not much of a TV watcher and discovered his audition in a news feed sometime after American Idol kicked off season 17. The same night I watched the audition I found out about his YouTube channel. I listened to everything that night and was hooked. Since then I found him on SoundCloud and Spotify. He does have several singles for purchase as well.

    I’d love to see more of his concerts.

  6. Having never seen him, you Got It! He’s so versatile and seems to do it with ease!!! He IS self taught so even More AMAZING!!! I’ll be seeing him for the 7th & 8th time come Noverber, can’t wait. Alejandro Aranda aka Scarypoolparty is definitely “One to Watch” LOVE the band and Sucre. #ITSALLLOVE #Morethanmusic #Alehomies

  7. Further note, this legendary drummer, Darren King (who is touring with Alejandro and who writes, performs and produces with his wife Stacy) was formerly the drummer for MuteMath. Check him out. He is kind of a big deal. 🙂

    Alejandro is truly a prodigy. There is no one else (at age 25 or ANY age) with this level of mastery on piano AND guitar…and with this tremendous instrument of his voice on top of that…and that’s in addition to the fact that he writes everything himself and is a brilliant producer. His musicality is astounding.

    Thanks for the nice review. I hope you have a chance to see him again and have a full appreciation for his epic talent going in! He’s mind-blowing!

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