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  • Writer's pictureEric Rice


Updated: Feb 17, 2019

Venue: The Pourhouse

City: Minneapolis, MN

Date: September 1st 2017

Strange days

Bless me audiophiles for I have sinned. It has been 0 days since my last concert confession.

I recently came to the realization that when I moved back to Minneapolis this past time; that brought the total up to 4 separate times I've lived there in my life. After ending a four year relationship with my girlfriend of 4 years to move back to Minneapolis to take a job at one of the better ad agencies in the country, it felt like I was returning to myself and back on course towards to get to a place where I felt happier personally and professionally. What I came to realize personally can be summed up by a line my dad fed me and Thomas Wolfe fed to him "You can't go home again." The friends I considered my second family when I lived there 8 years prior had either left Minnesota or just straight up moved on. Even after I reached out to the people I was once friends with; the only person that gave me the time of day was a friend's younger brother. So. No support group again. Reboot #4. Don't cry for me; I did this to myself. Over and over and over again. At this point in my life, I've lived in 14 states and even more cities. I'm not a vagabond, I'm just impatient. Anyway, I'll circle the gypsy wagon back to that later.

When I move to a new city, it's common for me to get my bearings by way of seeing shows at different venues in different neighborhoods. It's a good way to get a feel for what's what and who hangs out where. On this particular occasion, I saw a sign outside a venue called The Pourhouse (which wasn't there 8 years ago) for Alex's show. I can't remember what it said, but whatever it was, it obviously sold me on seeing the show. I listened to a couple tracks off his debut album "Better Than Myself", didn't hate what I heard and made the decision to check it out. I walked into the venue that evening not knowing what to expect aside from the guy on Spotify was going to be the guy playing on stage. When I walked in, I almost immediately had thoughts of walking right back out. When they weren't having concerts by up and coming country artists, they were definitely having brotastic bangers in this place. The 'art' above the stage were gigantic painted liquor labels

(Absolut, Jameson, Jagermeister), a somewhat scantily clad waitstaff and the best beer they had on tap get my point. The first band was the house band weren't awful per se; just nothing to write home about. As they were finishing up, more and more suburbanites filed in. They just kind of have a 'look', ya know? Alex finally came on. A skinny, young Willy Nelson type of guy. Long hair, long beard, humble but no bullshit. You could tell he had played every stage and crowd an up and coming artist has played. He wore his upbringings on his vocal cords and on his sleeve. I say sleeve; I mean arm. Because he had a big Waylon Jennings flying W tattoo on it. Once he leaned into his first track; everything else that had preceded the moment was silenced and put on ice for another time. That honkytonk baritone voice that sounds like it's been living in a guitar case since the 60s was all I needed to start to get back to feeling at home with myself again. Thanks, Alex.

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