Milwaukee native and music-scene rookie Lex Allen lit up the Pause on Friday night with his striking electro-pop original songs and energetic personality. A member of the music collective New Age Narcissism – a group that champions self-expression – Allen has gradually made his way into the music scene throughout the past couple of years. Allen’s involvement with performances and fellow local musicians has built up to the release of his long-anticipated debut album, “Table 7: Sinners and Saints.” The album premiered this past April.
While Allen has been increasingly successful, it didn’t start that way for the singer-songwriter. As a child, Allen and his family lived in a homeless shelter for a year, and as an adolescent, Allen was bullied at school because of his sexualtiy.
In addition to these childhood struggles, his mother passed away three years ago, just as he began to create and perform music. During his concert, Allen discussed these hardships, and how at times, they have taken a toll on his creative endeavors.
However, once he was able to put the weight of these traumas behind him, Allen channeled his experiences as songwriting inspiration, adding even more passion to his musical work.
St. Olaf students were able to see this engaging performer on the Pause Mane Stage, where Allen poured his emotions into each song – no one could question his fervor for his art.
Throughout the performance, delicate falsettos followed soulful beltings, and emotional confessions were accompanied by humorous admissions. Each of these styles combined to create a fun and entertaining show that kept the audience moving. It was impossible not to move to the beat of each electronic track, and Allen seemed to know this about his music.
“You all are so beautiful,” Allen said right after finishing up a song. Before the next one he added, “It’ll be impossible for y’all not to move your a** to this one.”
He was right.
Lex Allen’s charm as a performer begins with his easy-going, charismatic delivery and is fueled by the way he channels that energy into his music. While this positive energy is contagious regardless, it’s even more impressive when paralleled with the struggles Allen has faced on his way to musicianship. The Wisconsin-born Pride activist and emerging star has more to him than catchy tunes and dazzling smiles. Lex Allen is full of human experience and unafraid to share that with his audience.
As to his past, he’s moved on from letting it overpower him. “Trauma is trauma,” he told the audience at one point during the show, “it’s where you put your energy after it happens [that matters].