Headline shows are usually full of glitz, expensive visuals, dancers, displays and everything in-between. For Alex O’Connor, more commonly known by his stage name Rex Orange County, this was not the case, and the night couldn’t have been more perfect for it.
At just 20 years old Rex has really made a name for himself within the world of music. Finding himself on Tyler, The Creators huge 2017 Flower Boy album, as well as dropping multiple projects of his own. The former Brit School student is hard to categorise within a genre. Channelling 70’s keyboard vibes alongside pop vocals, a brass band, the occasional rap and soulful guitar solos the Surrey-born star has carved his own path within the industry. Loved for his direct honestly on love and life growing up with the confusing emotions as a teenager his tracks became immediately relatable for many.
Queuing right around the back streets surrounding the Eventim Apollo were 1000’s of teens itching to get inside. Once within the venue, it felt like the whole capacity were compressed up to stage for fans to be as close to the young musician as they could, leaving a gaping hole towards the back where post-teens took their spot.
A support act is there to warm up the crowd in order to get everyone more excited for the headline act. This is something Rex decided to skip, but it worked. I’ve never been a part of a crowd that gave a warmer welcome to an artist taking the stage. Armed simply with a band, a disco ball and some faux floating clouds Rex’s performance quickly became one of the simplest but uppermost stunning performances imaginable.
Opening the night in the company of a string orchestra, Rex took to the mic to perform “Apricot Princess“. One of the biggest tracks from his 2017 Apricot Princess album which was on sale in vinyl form around the venue. Shortly into his performance, he brought out girlfriend and singer-songwriter, Thea Morgan-Murrell to accompany him in his “Sycamore Girl” track.
If you’re one to cry at a good performance, then Rex’s mid-set Alicia Keys No-One cover would have had you shedding a tear. Stood alone on stage with a guitar under a shimmering glitter ball, the acoustic cover had the whole crowd singing and swaying along.
It became apparent throughout the evening that the sold-out venue not only enjoyed Rex and his music but knew every single track word for word. Any lyric dropped or gap left by the performer was sung back as loud as ever by the crowd. Performing the majority of his Apricot Princess album as well as a couple from his bcos u will never b free project and all four of his big singles, each track received an equally huge response.
Yet to sign to a label, Rex is out there touring worldwide whilst simultaneously working on his next album at his own pace. We can only hope that he continues to work under his own restraints in order to bring the world his incomparable no-frills shows of excellence.