Rex Orange County at the Observatory O.C. on August 12 (Photo by Ashley Ramynke)
Santiago Canyon College

Concert Review: Rex Orange County creates a soulful fantasy at Observatory O.C.

“Orange County, since we are home… ” said 20-year-old songwriter and recording artist Rex Orange County leading into 2017 single “Best Friend,” indulging the county he shares his stage name with in a soulful fantasy of apricot princesses and corduroy dreams at venue Observatory O.C. on August 12.

The U.K. native and former student of London’s BRIT School born Alexander O’Connor adapted the stage name Rex Orange County from the nickname “OC” — a play on his last name given by a former music teacher.

He since has played a prevalent role in defining the modern teenage sound, seen through the success of his 2017 single “Loving Is Easy,” collaborations with Tyler, the Creator and Illegal Civilization, and popularity in music festival circuits.

Between performances at music festivals in the U.S. and Canada, Rex played a series of headlining shows in Toronto, Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles, with supporting acts Arthur on the East Coast, Cuco in the Pacific Northwest, and Vegyn in California.

His live show composed of songs off his 2015 debut LP “bcos u will never be free,” his sophomore LP “Apricot Princess,” and a collection of singles and covers showed his emphasis on musically playing to the best of his and his band’s ability, yet lacking in performance quality.

Though lacking in performance quality, it was almost his charm. When he casually entered the stage fitted in loose vintage jeans and a neon blue PLZ Make It Ruins T-shirt, he wasn’t charismatic. Instead, he had a shy and genuine disposition, which led him to appear like the underdog in a coming-of-age film.

This underdog-like quality resonated with the audience because it captures the romanticism and vulnerability of teenage life, specifically with juxtaposed lyrics like, “loving is easy, you had me f**ked up.” Set to an upbeat, pop melody, he is able to genuinely depict the trial and tribulation of teenage life in both his records and live show.

Setlist:

  1. Apricot Princess
  2. Television/So Far So Good
  3. Paradise
  4. Sycamore Girl (ft. Thea)
  5. Uno
  6. No One (Alicia Keys Cover)
  7. Untitled
  8. A Song About Being Sad
  9. Corduroy Dreams
  10. Sunflower
  11. Best Friend
  12. Happiness
  13. Loving Is Easy

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