[Live] Alt-J

Alt-J, Ásgeir, Mansionair
Sydney Qantas Credit Union Arena
9 May 2015

Alt-J can’t get enough of Australia, or Australia can’t get enough of Alt-J – it’s hard to tell anymore. No sooner had they left our shores, and they’re back for their biggest headlining Australian tour dates.

Opening act Mansionair pulled an early crowd of their hometown followers and overexcited Alt-J fans that wanted to see anyone play an instrument. Mansionair always seem to have a gold star next to their name – it mightn’t be long until they are headlining stadium tours of their own.

Next up, Ásgeir gave everyone a free trip to Reykjavík, as rich, deep harmonies of an Icelandic soundscape filled the arena. Long notes of lost love and harsh elements crashed on the walls as the powerful sound dragged you under the waves. Switching languages partway through the set, the beauty of Icelandic completes Ásgeir’s sound.

The slow building intro of ‘Hunger Of The Pine’ echoed though the building, and the silhouettes of Alt-J appeared onstage against epic stage lighting. As the screen behind them projected visualisations that matched the energy of the crowd, a festival vibe had taken over the general admission area by the end of ‘Fitzpleasure’.

A balance of tracks from both of their albums proved the consistent quality of music Alt-J produce. Even on the evidence of the indulgent lyrics of ‘Every Other Freckle’ to settling into the groove of ‘Left Hand Free’, we may still not have seen the best Alt-J has to offer.

Their stage act has developed since we saw them last – unison claps and a fill-in-the-blanks sing-along for ‘Matilda’ entertained the masses. Nonetheless, Alt-J are the same old friends that arrived here two years ago, and the strong harmonies of ‘Ripe & Ruin’ are still a set highlight.

Holding up triangles instead of phones for ‘Tessellate’, theirs is an audience that wants to be in the moment – not just the spectacle.

Returning onstage for an encore, the Englishmen thanked their “best fans ever” and promised they would return soon, before closing with ‘Breezeblocks’. The fans were left yelling, “Please don’t go, we love you so,” and realising they really meant it.

Tanydd Jaquet
Originally published on thebrag.com

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