Sunday, July 10, 2011

Alex Wagner-Trugman Plays Viper Room

American Idol Season 8 semifinalist Alex Wagner-Trugman is getting back into the swing of things music-wise after finishing up his college degree. On July 5, Alex played an enjoyable acoustic set to a packed crowd at the Viper Room in West Hollywood. He played mostly original songs but tacked on a few covers at the end of his set, including one borrowed arrangement by a famous friend in the audience.

One of the things that I enjoy most about Alex is his sense of humor. The dude is funny! And he did a great job of mixing this into his set. His most well-received song was his own "Bootylicious", a hilarious tongue-in-cheek love song (with rap break). Hysterically funny lyrics aside, it's also melodically and structurally a really good song. And it may or may not have been stuck in my head for a good chunk of this past week. Ahem.

(video by TMFFYT)

Another highlight was Alex's last song in his set, Kanye West's "Heartless", played in honor of his pal Kris Allen, who was in the audience. Borrowing Kris's famous arrangement, Alex sang most of the song with a devilish grin on his face, clearly taking delight at ribbing Kris a little.

Alex did one other cover, a nicely-done version of Elliott Smith's "Say Yes".

His original songs were a little hard to hear to get a good feel on (glasses clinking at the bar, people chatting, etc.), and Alex seemed a little less confident on some of these. I think this may have been his first time performing some of these in front of a crowd. But he's definitely got something there lyrically. "Mr. Blah" was one of his standouts - it has a Radiohead feel to it. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be video of this song, but here are two other originals he sang.

Anyway (original):

Rich and Standard and Poor (original):

(videos by VioletSkyye)

Check Alex out on his YouTube channel, on Twitter (@alexwtrugs) or in person. He's playing at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on July 21 at 8:30 pm.

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