I’ll be the first to admit, that show exceeded my expectations.
When I heard that the lead singer of the punk band Beach Slang, James Alex, had created a soft rock album featuring stripped down versions of some Beach Slang favorites, and he was going to perform them live at Barboza, I was skeptical. I was expecting an almost Emo rock show. Dramatic lyrics sung over goth dirge style beats. Instead, last night’s show was more akin to what I think a private concert for their biggest fans would be like. It felt like Beach Slang had held a contest and we were the lucky few fans who won a spot at an intimate private show. There were candles, fluffy clouds, ballet projections, and flowers, a real juxtaposition to a regular punk rock show.
Speaking to folks in the crowd about how they learned about the event, many had the same response, they had learned about it through social media. One person mentioned that because the show was Quiet Slang and not Beach Slang, most of the website alerts they received for shows in the area which featured bands they were fans of, didn’t recognize to alert them of this event, and they had just learned about it days before. In short, although the room wasn’t packed, the people who did show up created an energy which seemed to really fuel the performance and accomplish what James had intended which was to “Bring the spirit of a Beach Slang show to a Quiet Slang show.”
The opener, Abi Reimold (left), was solid and showed a range of talent that brought everyone forward to get a better view. Her voice paired with her use of loops and pedals had everyone captivated to the point of silence during the performance, only to end up in applause by the end of each song. On another note, I’ve also never seen an artist slip her shoe on and off so many times in one performance.
Quiet Slang took the stage and the crowd was immediately enthralled by the voices of James Alex and Charlie. “We’re here to punch you in the heart.” James explained as they went into “Future Mixtape for the Art Kids”. His charming crowd banter between songs and his humorous back and forth with Charlie really helped elevate this performance and made you feel a better connection to them both. He explained that these lyrics really meant something to him and when there are people out there who can find some common place in these lyrics it means even more to him as the author. As the night went on people were singing along, a few people in the crowd began to tear up as they sung along to “Warpaint”, and overall the crowd remained as appreciative as both members of Quiet Slang were. “I love this crowd so much I swear if you email or contact me, I will write you a non recycled poem.” James said to the crowd.
This show was something else. The Quiet Slang performance (left) wasn’t this dramatic overly artsy endeavor but rather felt like an appreciation event for the real fans which was motivated by real fans of Beach Slang. I decided to speak to James after the show. He smelled of wine which he had spilled on himself near the end of the set. He had this big smile on his face. Before I could even ask him to sign my CD, he said, “I want to thank you so much for coming, would it be alright if I gave you a hug?”. You could tell he was as happy to be at that show as much as we were. If you consider yourself a Beach Slang fan, I recommend attending a Quiet Slang show. It felt like an invite only private show for the fans.