The Australian singer-songwriter played a chatty set in Hoxton
Alexandra Lynn is not a songwriter who holds back on the small details, but if the studio versions of her songs feel like a window into her world then hearing them live is a whole new level of intimacy.
“So, a while ago I went snorkeling and I made friends with a fish,” she opens a short monologue preceding her song ‘Growing Up’. The tangent isn’t actually to explain the meaning behind the entire song, but just to clarify a slight inaccuracy in the second verse. It’s also far from the only tangent that Alex will walk us down that evening in Hoxton’s Folklore. Perhaps with a less self-assured performer the audience would become a little restless by the third or fourth, but Alex has the kind of stage presence that you can’t teach. By the end of the night we’ll wander out with the feeling that what we just saw was three quarters music and one quarter stand-up comedy.
That’s not to say that the music is in any way overshadowed by the chatty nature of the performance. Alex’s songwriting style has always been conversational, but expertly so, with lyrics that emulate a warm conversation with a friend, hiding a great deal of technical skill between what appears to be simply a collection of moments related to the listener. In ‘Happy Song’, the stand-out of her discography, she touches on all the stresses and tragedies faced by a young friendship group as they make their way out to a bar to forget it all for a night. It’s a beautiful track made even more poignant by the choir she creates out of her mostly young audience.
Folklore is the ideal setting for an artist who loves to involve the audience in her performance. An independent venue in Hoxton with a focus on inclusivity and sustainability, they create a small but magical space for intimate gigs well suited to both Alex and her support acts: Londoner Maxx Palmer and Australian up-and-comer Beckah Amani. All three of them comment on how special the space feels. When the set finishes and the audience clamors for an encore, Alex looks genuinely taken aback and lets the audience pick her bonus setlist. After they finally do let her offstage, she’s laughing. It’s clear that to the unassuming singer-songwriter, the success of the evening has taken her rather by surprise.
The show closes with the announcement that those who want to can choose from a small selection of merch: a handful of beanies, about six t-shirts and one jumper. Alex pauses, taking in the happy faces in front of her. “It’s going to be a fight to the death for the jumper.”