Alex Lahey recounts the gig she played to thousands of unsuspecting Amy Shark fans: “A real zero-to-hero experience”

"All these people are here to see Amy Shark and she's not going to come on-stage"

Alex Lahey has reflected on her unexpected performance at the 2017 Groovin The Moo festival, taking a slot formerly held by then-rising star Amy Shark.

Speaking with The Guardian for the publication’s ‘My Unforgettable Gig’ column, Lahey recalled that she and her band were scheduled to play a small stage at the festival’s Bendigo leg. This was changed, however, when singer Montaigne fell ill and the performances were shuffled.

“Amy Shark… got bumped from the big tent to the main stage, and they upgraded me and my band from the fucken car park or something to the big tent,” Lahey said.

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At the time, Shark’s 2016 single ‘Adore’ was ascending the charts and, in Lahey’s words, “having a big moment”. By means of contrast, Lahey was still a relative newcomer at the time – her debut EP, ‘B-Grade University’, had only come out the year prior, and she was yet to release her first studio album, ‘I Love You Like A Brother’.

“Just before we came on, I saw the tent had like 7,000 people in it,” Lahey continued. “I thought: ‘Fuck, all these people are here to see Amy Shark and she’s not going to come on-stage.'”

Despite admitting that there were “a few boos” when Lahey and her band came out and explained the situation, she came to embrace the “beautiful accident” of the large crowd. She even sparked some recognition from attendees when she performed the single ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’, which was a minor hit in the 2016 triple j Hottest 100 – the same countdown, coincidentally enough, where Amy Shark had placed second with ‘Adore’.

“That show was me simultaneously living out a fantasy and trying to figure out how to do it,” Lahey concluded. “It was the breakthrough moment – a real zero-to-hero experience.”

Lahey’s most recent single, ‘Spike the Punch’, was released in late October 2021. Her third studio album is expected later this year.

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