There’s a kind of raw honesty to Alex the Astronaut that makes crowds adore her. This was evident at the Factory Theatre on November 29 when Alex played as part of her Space Tour, to a youthful and beaming crowd. The young artist possesses a rare ability to provoke the most primitive yet complex emotions among her audience. There is no forced obscurity in her words or melody; rejecting the kind of high culture unattainability that only invites a select few to appreciate its worth. There’s a simplicity in her hit ‘Not Worth Hiding’ when she states, “it’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say, and it’s not worth smiling if you’re feeling in pain”. These are lyrics that come straight from the heart.
At the beginning of 2018, Alex performed as part of Bondi Pavilion’s Surf’s Up @ The Pav, and having grown her audience base to fill out the Factory Theatre, the young singer-songwriter has preserved an authentic, down-to-earth character that crowds first fell in love with. Alongside her music is a story or trail of emotions that invite the audience in with their startling (and often hilarious) relatability. Shuffling around with an adoring awkwardness on Bondi Pavilion’s intimate stage, Alex told of her embarrassing slip-ups when meeting her idol Paul Kelley, or that mortifying time her guitar string broke in front of hundreds of people. Now, even under the lights of a main stage performance It is hard to forget that Alex is an ordinary 23-year old despite her extraordinary life.
At the Factory Theatre, Alex talks about everything from her love life to the complete unexpectedness of her entry into Triple J’s Hottest 100 with the kind of genuine self-deprecating humour that conjures the warm familiarity of sitting around and debriefing with a bunch of close friends. This humour is of course meddled with reflective seriousness in ‘Happy Song’, which exudes a rare melancholy happiness. The audience swayed in rhythm to lines such as “I know everyone is missing someone but it stopped me when I saw someone like you, they looked so much like you”, delivered with Alex’s natural vocals and gentle guitar strokes. This romanticism also echoed through the Sydney crowd during Alex’s ode to her hometown, in the nostalgic tune ‘What Sydney Looks Like in June’.
Exuding an infectious, positive energy, Alex is able to express a range of complex emotions in the one song. Complexity certainly characterised Alex’s experiences while writing and sharing her 2017 hit ‘Not Worth Hiding’. While the song shares a positive message of queer acceptance, Alex vulnerably described her initial reluctance to share the song and her own personal fears of judgement and retaliation when coming out during high school. Reframing the song to speak to the kids who were having a hard time being queer, Alex’s poignant release provides an eternally relevant anthem of self-love, that carried as much resonance at the Factory Theatre as it did upon its first release.
With a physics degree under her belt, Alex is nothing short of talented. However, luckily for us, it seems that for now, music is where her heart lies. The Factory Theatre’s hyped crowd was clear proof that the young artist and her irresistible energy are here to stay.