Alexander 23 Puts on a ‘Party’ at Brooklyn Steel

From pop to rock, Alexander 23 plays his biggest show yet in New York City



Alexander 23 played his biggest show yet in New York, awing the audience.


With an early encore, a Kelly Clarkson cover and dirty Air Force 1s, Alexander 23’s charismatic pop rock concert on Oct. 25 awed audience members at Brooklyn Steel. 

After two lively openers and a level of bass concertgoers could feel in their chests, fans of Alexander were packed in the old warehouse. People, old and young, buzzed with anticipation, many claiming they’d been following him since before his first EP, “I’m Sorry I Love You.” 

The crowd’s palpable excitement diminished just slightly when he walked on stage and confidently announced that the band only had two songs for us that night. I turned to Morgan, a much more experienced fan, but she was still smiling, her expression a little smug. “Don’t worry, he just does this,” She reassured me.

Following two upbeat, flirtatious singles, “Girl” and “Cosplay,” the latter being my personal favorite, Alexander playfully walked off stage while the crowd cheered for an encore. His unconventional approach to the show’s structure created a mischievous, lively atmosphere which allowed the concert to flow with an unusual smoothness.

He then strutted back on stage and immediately began playing the energetic bulk of his new album, “Aftershock.” Imbued with heavier guitar, bass and drums, Alexander’s live performance shifted away from his poppy Spotify recordings to create an energetic, edgy rock tenor. 

He skillfully built up the substantial charisma in the warehouse over the next seven upbeat songs, culminating in “If We Were a Party” and his newest single, “Ill.” 

He then played “High School,” from his first EP. The song reminisces about high school love and the innocence and naivety that comes with it. Fans got a treat at the end with the exclusive live verse that is not featured in the studio version. 

An exhausted and overexcited crowd welcomed Alexander’s change of tone as he performed the saddest but, in his words, “most important” song he’d ever written: “Hardest Part.” The song is about losing touch with somebody but never getting closure because they passed away. In the chorus he says, “I guess the hardest part of getting old / Is that some people that you love don’t,” which encapsulates the fear of loss, especially of those closest to us. Weeks after seeing it live, we’re still unable to listen to this song. 

Once they took their final bow, the lights cut out. The message covered the screen “it’s New York, baby, always jacked up” — lyrics from “Kiwi” by Harry Styles.

After that short and heavy reprieve, Alexander surprised the crowd with a rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.” With varying degrees of passion and relation, the crowd quickly followed the lyrics projected in pink text behind Alexander and his electric guitar. Before moving on to the show’s acoustic section, Alexander gave the crowd a special treat. 

With his band off the stage, he headed left to sit at a piano. While delicately playing chords, he said he’d gone into the studio recently and started recording a single: “How To Drive.” He recounted promising a fan he would play the new song and proudly claimed he was keeping his word. The crowd fell silent. 

In “How To Drive,” Alexander sings about his unpreparedness in coping with the uncertainty of the future. With lyrics like, “I know I should shut up and enjoy the ride / But nobody ever taught me how to drive,” and “Did you learn to keep it all between the lines,” Alexander was able to capture the vulnerability and fear that accompanies growing up.

Alexander concluded the show with “IDK You Yet,” the song that catapulted his career when it went viral on TikTok in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. A slower song, it almost felt odd to end on it, but Alexander proved any naysayers wrong. The song started slow with the simple guitar melody, and by the chorus, the steady drum beat kicked in. By the bridge, it ramped up, and he took a moment to thank everybody from the crew to the audience again. At last, the final chorus came from the full band. 

Alexander stunned the audience by filling the vocals with falsetto and runs, putting everything he had into the performance. Right as the show seemed to conclude with Alexander playing the motific guitar melody, the band joined back in for one final jam.

Once they took their final bow, the lights cut out. The message covered the screen “it’s New York, baby, always jacked up” — lyrics from “Kiwi” by Harry Styles. 

As a long-time listener, it was amazing to witness the growth of Alexander 23’s career. His comfortability on stage and musicality was intoxicating. Plus, the way he was able to reinvent his songs from the studio versions to the stage made it every bit more enjoyable. The constant reinvention makes each tour unique and keeps us wanting to come back for more.