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.
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.