Alex Clare could blend in with all the new alternative rock/singer-songwriter/pop/folk musical groups hitting the likes of Spotify and 98.7 FM right now. He could get lost in the fray if he were just another one of those musical acts. Luckily, he isn’t, and during his recent show at the Fonda Theatre, he demonstrated his distinctive appeal with a dynamic performance that fused every musical genre imaginable into one solid evening of music.
With members born in a village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, opening act Moshav perfectly blends the world and folk music genres. Bongos and lute-type guitars kept the audience guessing as to what kind of rich musical melodies would come next. The group started the evening with a burst of energy that carried through the night.
Alex Clare kicked off his set with the blues-infused tracks “Hummingbird,” “I Love You,” and “Caroline,” all filled with a genuine sweetness. He reminded me a bit of Glen Hansard, particularly in the way he stayed in one place as he sang, grounding his feet to the stage as if all of his performance power fed through the floor. His musicality was generally a bit more bluesy than anticipated and less electro than implied by his majorly popular single, “Too Close,” which he purposefully saved until the very end of the set.
Halfway through the performance, as the show began to pick up energy, Clare paused to share his thought, “I just got reminded I’m in California!” He then went into the songs “Damn Your Eyes” and “Hands” before he surprised the entire audience with a very wonderful rendition of “When Doves Cry.” People in the audience cheered and high-fived each other after that one, as if they were the ones performing, but that was the kind of feeling Alex Clare evoked out of the audience — congratulatory adoration, if that is even a thing.
After a few more emotionally charged and widely diverse musical numbers — which further solidified the idea that folk-blues can in fact accentuate electronica — Alex Clare paused the show once more to tell the audience a story about the first song he learned on the guitar. In a completely acoustic fashion, he sang “Till the Rivers Run Dry” with the accompaniment of those in the audience who knew the song well.
This performance might have been one of the more musically diverse I have seen in a while. It mixed electronica and rock, pop and blues, and all the while Alex Clare knew exactly what he was doing. His genuine stage presence and effortless charisma made each song completely memorable in its own right, and at the end, he thanked the audience for an enjoyable evening, a fitting conclusion for such a sweet and wonderfully talented performer.
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