Entering into Webster Hall without it being pitch black and packed with neon clad teenagers was a very welcome change of pace. The first of two sell out shows for Leeds (UK) quartet Alt-J was quickly filling in and excitement was building. Before they took the stage, Florida based quintet Hundred Waters came out and definitely made hundreds of new fans, rocking a nearly capacity Webster Hall crowd itching for some music.
Hundred Waters abstract electronic sound was an excellent way to get the crowd ready for Alt-J. They have a very dream like vibe which fluctuates in tempo and bass giving body to their sound. Think something in the realm of The Dirty Projectors and Bjork. As their set continued they seemed to actually build up in strength getting the crowd more and more excited. By the end of their set the room was packed and the tension was palpable. We were ready for Alt-J.
Alt-J being a very new band has a very limited catalog to work with, allowing them to play almost their entire debut album. Lucky for us, that album is incredible from beginning to end. The stage was littered with glass globes of light that slowly illuminated. As the band takes their places, front man Joe Newman approaches the mic, and his very unique voice comes over the speakers and the crowd lights up.
Playing almost their entire album with the addition of ‘Buffalo’, was flawless from beginning to end. It’s difficult to write this and not either gush for the show as a whole or to go through each song and describe how perfect the sound was the entire time. Alt-J plays with incredible accuracy while not sacrificing the feeling of a live performance.
The band bounced between their up tempo and their melodic. All of the songs performed were played perfectly but certain songs performed live really made their show. To “feel” ‘Fitzpleasure’ was a pleasure. The deep bass synths really were incredible to hear and feel. Jumping between the tones and tempo of their album made for a roller coaster of energy. Matilda, the soft spoken song about the young girl from the Professional followed ‘Fitzpleasure’ and made for a “come down” of sorts from its energy.
Closing the show with Breezeblocks and following with a 2 song encore was an amazing way to end this incredible performance. If you weren’t fortunate enough to see them here or at Terminal 5 this past weekend make a point to go to Governors Ball if for no other reason than to see Alt-J. They’re touring non stop all year and I don’t see their popularity going anywhere but up, so go see them before it’s impossible to get a ticket.