This Alt-J article was written by Max Clemens, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
Marking the second stop on their UK tour, Alt-J stopped to perform at Bournemouth’s International Centre before making their way on to arena shows in Cardiff, Leeds and Nottingham. Bringing tour mates Ghostpoet and The Horrors along as support, fans were treated to a chance to mellow-out before the psychedelic night that Alt-J had in store for everyone.
Marking the start of the evening with the ‘Intro’ track from latest album ‘This Is All Yours’, Alt-J then segued into single ‘Every Other Freckle,’ where the building chant in the chorus only magnified an atmosphere within a crowd early on in the night. Even at this point it was instantly remarkable how perfected their live show was, to the point of the music being recreated identical to that of their CD counterpart. Fluttering along onto ‘Something Good’ and ‘Left Hand Free’, both popular tracks from the first and second album respectively – the crowd surfed the energy from both the band and everyone else in the room.
After performing a full version of ‘Bloodflood,’ originally a two-part track spread across each of their albums, Alt-J performed the triple punch of fan favorites from their first album ‘An Awesome Wave’ with ‘Dissolve Me’, ‘Matilda’ and ‘Tessellate’. The live set was also accompanied with a simple stage backdrop, with lights and TV screens displaying nothing other than a light display – little attention was drawn from the band as they thumped and chanted their way through the evening.
Including a uniquely delivered cover version of Bill Wither’s classic ‘Lovely Day’ also made the set more their own, with an entirely new arrangement and feeling to the track. Albeit with little crowd interaction throughout the evening, most likely a product of playing bigger and bigger venues, watching the band play and have chemistry on stage together gave insight into them as a group.
After playing a mixed version of ‘Nara’ and ‘Leaving Nara’, stored away for special live performances only, Alt-J closed their show with ‘Fitzpleasure’, potentially their most bass-driven song thundering throughout the venue, allowing the crowd what they thought to be one last big dance only to return with a massive four-song-encore.
Miley Cyrus-infused ‘Hunger of the Pine’ kicked off their return, with enthusiastic shouts of “I’m a female rebel” from the crowd overcoming the subtle, sultry whispers of the band themselves. ‘Warm Foothills’ continued a streak of whistles from both sides of the barrier, and the mellowing vibe, winding down the evening. Once again, ‘Taro’ placed the audience in the hands of the band, as they showed us what they do best with no screams and jumping to interrupt – just pure and sustained admiration from the crowd.
Alt-J set out to prove that there’s magic in their ‘weirdness’, and delivered a true-to-experience show – with a style that’s innately trippy, where any mistakes would have stood out like a sore thumb. Though, that’s not a bad thing; as the group find themselves out of cue in final track ‘Breezeblocks’, counting themselves back in time after grinding to a halt. Though, rather than exuding any inexperienced vibe, they managed to only seem even more real and even more down to earth.