Alt-J at the O2 Academy Brixton
Since their 2007 formation in Leeds University dorm rooms, Alt-J (∆) has gone from strength to strength. Having officially signed with Infectious Records in 2011, they released their first album An Awesome Wave in 2012. Besides accumulating a huge fan following, the band also picked up major critical acclaim and even won BBC Radio 6 Music’s Album of The Year in 2012. Working with this momentum, Alt-J did what any good band does to create some buzz: they went on tour. After some time in the United States (even playing a set at iconic Coachella Festival in California), they returned to their homeland to show the United Kingdom some love.
The atmosphere at Brixton Academy is palpable. Alt-J’s hipster, punky fans are the real deal and it is clear that people are excited to see this somewhat obscure, indie band play live. With two quirky, complementary bands warming up the crowd, the lights finally dim and in a burst of blue, the band comes on stage. These four casually dressed, unassuming boys could well be another opening act, but when they start playing Ripe & Run there is no doubt of their headline credentials. Singer Joe Newman’s voice is strong and clear, and the band’s melodic style is right at home in the acoustic haven of the O2 Academy.
Alt-J worked the crowd like pros, testing their loyalty by allowing fans to sing two verses of the popular Tessellate. Chilling stuff. They played for another hour adding Buffalo to their regular set list, followed by Breezeblocks. This saw another star performance from the audience and the joy at such a reception was clear on the boys’ faces. Having been urged back to the stage by the fans singing, “Please don’t go, I love you so”, the band reciprocated with an encore featuring a string quartet. Finishing on a high note with Taro, the strings added a perfect yet unexpected symphonic dimension.
Alt-J can expect even greater things in the future. They are unique, honest and thankfully sound exactly like their album (no vocal retouching of any sort going on here). They’ve made the difficult transition from obscure to popular rock band, while maintaining the style that had originally made them so popular. With their great stage presence, it was clear that fans came away happy from the show. Alt-J is truly on an Awesome Wave.
For further information and future events visit Alt-J’s website here.
Watch the video for Breezleblocks here: