Live Review: Alt-J @ O2 Academy Leeds

Alt-J took centre stage at O2 Academy in Leeds last Monday with their first album in five years, The Dream. Phoebe Millard Reviews.


After a long hiatus, the Leeds formed trio finally got to return to their hometown and perform their latest album. Playing at a respectable, yet intimate venue, you could feel the suspense of an audience of all ages, whilst waiting for band to claim the stage. Having warmed up from their American tour of The Dream you could tell the trio were eager to perform to their hometown audience and where quickly in their element.


Each track’s aura was digitally captured on a light show framing the back of the stage, which matched the entrancing atmosphere of the trio

The Dream has received an abundance of positive reviews and it is clear why -- with them kickstarting the show with the first track from the album, Bane. Opening with the intro track to their touring album is a repeated method used by Alt-J ever since the first album and has evidently been a success. The track that encapsulates Alt-J’s talent of pushing standard music conventions and easing the crowd into the one-and-a-half-hour set. This was quickly followed by a fan favourite, Every Other Freckle, featured on their second album. Each track’s aura was digitally captured on a light show framing the back of the stage, which matched the entrancing atmosphere of the trio.




One stand-out song from the new album was Chicago, a track I was worried that when played live wouldn’t do it justice. However, I was proven quite the opposite. The gradual build-up of the booming bass and the fluttering strings could be felt in your throat. The suspense of the rhythmic build up was supported by the backdrop, now showing a screen of static. Surprisingly, this was only one of six songs from the recent album played, with the catchy track Hard Drive Gold joining Left Hand Free and Breezeblocks on the encore.


The band gave multiple shoutouts to their hometown with it coming up to their ten-year anniversary of their first album An Awesome Wave. A generous 40 % of the setlist were songs from their first album which got the audience roaring "Hey Taro!" and singing along to Joe and Gus’ harmonies in Matilda. Fitzpleasure got the crowd jumping with the distinctive bass and chilling lyrics. It was a pleasure to finally be able to see the band perform after such a long time. Their performance was effortless with the drummer, Thom Sonny Green, bringing his electronic music influence, even whilst playing on an acoustic kit.


Even though Joe’s lyrics are historically known to be hard to pick up with his distinctive voice, everyone in the room joined in for the last song with the occasional audience member throwing up the Alt-J hand triangle

After being cheered back on by the eager crowd Alt-J closed the night with a three-song encore. Left Hand Free and Hard Drive Gold got all the crowd dancing to their catchy riffs, whilst Breezeblocks wrapped the set up perfectly -- being their biggest hit by charts. Even though Joe’s lyrics are historically known to be hard to pick up with his distinctive voice, everyone in the room joined in for the last song with the occasional audience member throwing up the Alt-J hand triangle.



Ultimately, alt-J made the night one to remember for everyone in the audience and left each person wanting more once again.


Phoebe Millard

 

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell


Featured image courtesy of Phoebe Millard.