Alex Lloyd’s show on Thursday night was his Sydney Opera House debut, but what could’ve been a victorious hometown return instead felt like a missed opportunity for his absent fans.
The support band was The Young Lions, a hipster-folk duo who were playing their sixth live gig. They played gentle acoustic music and sounded like a mix between Georgia Fields and Mumford And Sons.
The pair performed ‘The Shade Of Grey’ and sang about the passage of time as well as wistful ruminations over lost love. ‘Winter To Spring’ was a slow ballad that crossed different ground and one that you could imagine being a good addition to a play or a film.
The guys also played ‘Hello Goodbye’ and dubbed the show as their “comeback” gig, proving to be a funny and affable pair.
But the man of the hour was Alex Lloyd. The audience members were a more mature lot who, despite enjoying his folk and pop tunes, only filled half the room.
The crowd rose to their feet for the second last song of the main set, ‘Amazing’. At that moment, the show felt like it had properly started. Despite Lloyd having just produced one of his best and most varied album in years, the night felt more like a gathering of family and friends instead of a gig.
Lloyd and his band started the night with the new song, ‘Black Cat’. This had a feathery touch while finding a good balance between light and dark moments.
He played a variety of numbers from his 16-year career. ‘Black The Sun’ was an early favourite and just heavenly, with all of the samples in the right place. It was strange that the audience didn’t join in to sing along – instead, they saved this for the end.
‘What A Year’ followed and still proved to be poignant. It’s a song that can easily sum up Lloyd’s past few years living abroad as well as caring for a young family, writing music for other artists, and producing film soundtracks.
The man himself looked very comfortable and happy to be back playing. He thanked the crowd, a few important people, and his wife, Amelia – who inspired him to write the tender love song, ‘Beautiful’. Lloyd featured this song alongside newer material from Urban Wilderness, like the soulful ‘Waterfall’ and the country twang of ‘Better The Less You Know’.
‘Bring It On’ could pass for a Crowded House song, while ‘Honestly’ was squeaky-clean pop. Lloyd and the band returned for a fabulous encore and performed ‘Momo’, the fusion of genres making it an inspiring song for younger artists. He also played a perfect rendition of ‘My Way Home’ and the singalong of the night, ‘Coming Home’.
Apart from the lack of punters on their feet, it was hard to fault Alex Lloyd’s set. His song choice and playing was near perfect, performing a great mix from his early albums as well as a solid introduction to the varied music on his latest record.
The material on Urban Wilderness is so different; it covers a range of emotions in different and exciting ways reminiscent of the film soundtracks he’s previously worked on. It’s for this reason that perhaps the songs would’ve been better showcased and launched in a film theatre – where they could reach their full potential.
Alex LLoyd’s Sydney set list:
1. Black Cat
2. Slow Train
3. Black The Sun
4. What A Year
6. Hello The End
7. My Friend
9. Bring It On
10. Better The Less You Know
12. Bus Ride
15. Good Thing
17. My Way Home
18. Coming Home
Originally published on 25 November 2013 at the following website: http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/reviews/shows/366498/alex-lloyd-2.htm
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