I’d never heard of Alice Merton before I was invited to see her play a WXRT showcase at Beat Kitchen last Wednesday. In the interest of preparation, I dialed her up on Spotify and listened to her debut EP while reading various bios on different sites.
Alice is 24 years old- born in Frankfurt, but spent her childhood moving between various cities and countries due to her father’s job. Her EP, driven by the appropriately titled single “No Roots” hit #2 in Germany and #1 on the French charts. Alice recently signed with the ‘Mom + Pop Music’ label to help her break into the U.S. market.
WXRT in Chicago is well-known for helping to break artists in the United States. The Police, Talking Heads, and Elvis Costello are a few of the acts that were embraced by the station in their nascent stages. Consequently, it’s always exciting to see who ‘XRT is supporting these days.
Beat Kitchen is a small, standing-room only venue that might hold a hundred people. For Alice’s show I’d say the room was close to capacity. When she took the stage for her 5-song set, Alice mentioned her manager had pranked her, telling her there were only about 10 people in the audience. She was excited and grateful for the turnout.
As with all WXRT showcases (called “Live from Studio X”), a radio personality hosts the show and chats with the artist in between songs. Alice seemed pretty new to the live experience- maybe still getting her ‘stage legs’. At one point she began to clap while she was singing. When the audience began to clap along with her (a pretty standard crowd response), she was so surprised that she began to laugh.
It was clear right off the bat that Alice is a professionally trained singer. The songs are very tight; most are driven by a strong guitar riff in the verses. Her choruses become a bit more poppy with a four-on-the-floor bass drum dance beat and very hooky lyrics, too. Here is the video for Alice’s second single “Lash Out”:
Alice and her band are off to play Europe for a few months, but she will invariably be back to Chicago at some point soon. In the meantime, check her out wherever you get your music. Or order Alice Merton cds and vinyl here.