Reviewed by Brian Litwin
It really says something about a band to sell out a show, but to create such a demand for tickets that promoters will book an additional show (that will also sell out) – now that is pretty astonishing. With relentless touring as of late, a buzzing release in An Awesome Wave and multiple major syncs under their belt, Leeds based quartet Alt-J appear to be on the road to even greater things, at least if their performance this past Tuesday night on August, 27th serves any indication.
Opening the show was six piece Winnipeg act Royal Canoe. The group’s eclectic-pop styled approach proved a great fit for the many Alt-J fans in the house that night. Playing tracks off the upcoming (Sept. 3rd – North America) release Today We’re Believers, Royal Canoe captured wandering ears and engaged the masses. “Bathtubs”, the second single released off the new album, stood out with its catchy chorus, and my personal favorite song “Nightcrawlin'” offered up an eccentric rock mix to which the many music nerds in attendance could not help but groove.
Taking the stage next were Alt-J consisting of Gwil Sainsbury (guitar/bass), Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums). Their set lasted a little over an over an hour and they wasted no time ripping right into their much lauded 2012 release, An Awesome Wave. Before the set began, I was a bit hesitant that Alt-J’s minimalist sound wouldn’t fill the Palladiums great hall, but after Thom Green’s first snare hit, the ringing guitars came in, and frontman Joe Newman’s bellowing vocals filled the space, I soon had no more need for hesitation. Alt-J played tight as ever, they sounded great, and were seamless from beginning to end. The crowd sang along to songs like “Fitzpleasure”, “Tessallate”, “Taro”, “Bloodflood”, “Something Good”, “Dissolve Me” and “Matilda”. The band laid down a killer Acapella version of “A Real Hero” by College & Electric Youth, and also premiered a new song for fans called “Warm Foothills”.
After a quick set break, Alt-J returned to stage for an encore performance in what seemed to be the most anticipated song of the evening, “Breezeblocks”. This was a show to remember… and I’ll note, Thom Green’s snare might be the greatest sound since Eddie Van Halen abused his whammy – just saying.