Finally, Alex Nackman Returns

February 3rd, 2011

Alex Nackman – Mercury Lounge – February 2, 2011

(Photo: Elliot Grossman)

(Photo: Elliot Grossman)

Alex Nackman certainly took the long way to Mercury Lounge on Wednesday night. It was his self-proclaimed “first show in three years,” since he last took the stage in New York City at The Bowery Ballroom. In the interim, he’d built a new record, This Revolution, and done it around a different sound, all while flirting with and then ditching a corporate day job. His angle, now more electric and electronic, still served to find resolution in the dissonance, with these new songs as the hymns of a complicated journey.

This tension was no more evident than on the second song of the night, the soaring and anthemic “Bodies Won’t Stand.” An arena-rock song captured in the hands of a singer-songwriter, “Bodies” sailed above the audience with its eponymous chorus and a sense that the implied wave of destruction would be regenerative. Nackman proceeded to play new cuts “Holding Her,” “N.Y.,” an uppity ode to his city of origin, and “Walk It Blind.”

While Nackman’s fans wouldn’t hear the recent CW television song “Burn from the Rockets,” the singer would close the evening with “Stay Awake,” an acoustic long-distance call, and “Aloud,” a U2-sounding track with a downbeat as sturdy as its final instruction: “We wouldn’t drown, no.” Built for takeoff, Nackman used his own chord progression to give an ode to Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” before returning to his song’s bridge as the closer. There was no sense of rust, only a long way to a new beginning, with the artist as the architect. —Geoff Nelson