It’s nice to check into what the youth is listening to every now and then. That’s how I found myself closing out my weekend at the sold out Rex Orange County show at the Palace Theatre. Sure, I had never heard Rex Orange County’s music but I had seen his name many times and knew that the hype was real. I just had to know what that hype was about and to see if this kid was worth all of the noise. Spoiler alert– he is.
The line still stretched pretty far out the door when I arrived to The Palace Theatre around 7:30 PM. Doors had been open since 6:30 and the show wasn’t starting until 8 so I was a little surprised to see such a long line still waiting for me at the door but, then again, sold out all ages show, maybe I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was. After getting my ticket and getting inside I was greeted with a feeling of excitement that was impossible to ignore. I instantly felt my age as I was surrounded by kids that couldn’t have been much older than 15. Usually this is a complete turn off for me but something about everyone’s excitement had me intrigued enough to stand my ground fairly close to the stage as I waited for the show to start. Every time a tech would take the stage to check the microphones or set up picks on one of the mic stands, the audience would erupt into a deafening roar of screams and applause but that seemed to be only practice because when the house lights went down for real and Rex Orange County took the stage, the sound of the audience went from deafening to whatever you would call the next level.
Rex Orange County, born Alexander O’Connor, is an English musician that has truly taken the world by storm. At only 21 years old, Alex has already put out three full length albums, done songs with Tyler the Creator, Chance the Rapper, and many other big name stars and has a toured almost relentlessly easily turning his name into a household name. For such a young kid, I’m honestly enamored and not blind to his extreme work ethic and talent. I may have been a bit skeptical as he took the stage but, with in the first couple of notes of his opening song “10/10”, I was in love with his music on top of everything else.
Alex and his band powered through a twenty song set that spanned every genre I could possibly list. If I had to describe his music with just one line of genres then I would call it jazzy indie pop with a dash of pop-punk all covered in a blanket of hip-hop bedroom pop. Yeah, I apologize, but that’s honestly the most I can nail down his sound. Honestly it was all over the place and I loved every single second of it. Every song had a different vibe whether it was a party-like atmosphere that it leant itself to or a calmer more depressive state of real-life lyrics that hit a little to close to home, Rex Orange County defintiely has a sound unlike any other act out there and an explosive and energetic live show that makes him a must see live act.
If I haven’t made it clear, I was completely in love with Rex Orange County and his music but it was the audience that was the final nail in the coffin. The audience was singing along to every word and jumping with every beat in such an excited way that it was impossible to not regret doing more research into this man’s music so I could join in. Sure, Alex and his band played and sang each note and word with an undeniable sense of passion but that passion was easily met by the same level of love and care from the young audience members. I’m pretty sure that every song in the set list was the young girl next to me’s favorite song (as she turned to her dad everytime to explain her excitement). I may have not been overly excited for this show but her excitement made me excited for her favorite song, every time.
I can’t compare Rex Orange County’s music to anyone without having to tweak the description and I honestly couldn’t compare his audience to any audience I have been in recently. I may have walked into Sunday night’s show just due to pure curiousity but I walked out a huge fan and I honestly don’t know the last time a current act was able to do that to me. Rex Orange County is going to be more than just a fad so you should probably go ahead and jump on the Rex Orange County wagon with me now.