British breakthrough Alex Clare
recently performed a show at Irving Plaza. The artist behind "Too Close" (you might have seen this little itty bitty commercial
) proved that he could manage the crowd with a guitar, not just the dub step smash-up most folks know him for (Thank God).
Clare's strongest performances of the night were when he played "Hands" off this summer's release, The Lateness of the Hour
, as well as a cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry." The passion behind "Hands" makes me wonder why the song hasn't exploded. The build up Clare's backing band provides catapults the song...sounds like a ticking time bomb to me. And that Prince cover of his? Pretty damn bold...
"Hummingbird," another song from The Lateness of the Hour
, is unique in the live experience, allowing one to simply feel
. His range was absolutely chilling and flawless, leaving much of the audience glued to their place.
Clare concluded his regular set with an acoustic version of Tom Wait's, "Goodnight Irene," which he told us was the first song he had learned to play on an acoustic guitar, bringing life and the perfect rock tone to the classic country ballad. All and all, the night was an interesting juxtaposition of slow and soulful songs; a mix that turned out quite well.
In his encore, Clare wrapped things up with a tear-jerking, heart-string-pulling, I-want-to-cry-this-is-so-damn-good, version of his tune "I Won't Let You Down." The song was truly convincing, delivered with conviction and a tinge of sadness. Such a powerhouse, vocal performance left the crowd entranced in a hazy spell of piano lust.
With such an inviting voice and a backing band of extremely talented musicians, I'm eager to see how Clare's career might unfold. He's had the mega hit with "Too Close". But on this night it was everything else surrounding the song that was most compelling. I would say his future looks pretty bright from here.