Last week on the 27th of September, Leeds’ Alt-J played a sold out gig in the newly named 3Arena (previously the O2 arena) in Dublin’s Docklands. The three-piece band consisted of Joe Newman (Guitar/Lead Vocals),Gus Unger-Hamilton (Keyboard), and Thom Green (Drums), along with their touring bassist, Cameron Knight. The Mercury Prize winners performed in front of their biggest gig yet as told by Gus, who was the MC for the evening.
Before their set, they had support from the lovely Marika Hackman. An amazing 22 year-old singer-song writer who’s sound could only be described as what Daughter would sound like if she jammed with Kurt Cobain in a church after school. After Marika’s 1 hour set, followed by a 30 minute interval, the lights went down, and the pulsing synth of Hunger Of The Pines began.
The lights were, if not, the best part of the performance. They fit perfectly in harmony with images associated with certain sounds of each track. For example, intense strobe lighting was conducted for Fitzpleasure and morphing Manadalas were shown during the Bhangra inspired chorus of Taro.
Another aspect which contributed to this amazing show was how tight it was. There wasn’t a beat out of place, which sometimes can be a hard thing to do when you involve electronics, synths and lights to stay in synch with you during a performance.
The sound was just as stunning. It would seem almost impossible to spot the difference between hearing Alt-J live on stage and them playing through headphones on your MP3.
The set had an even amount of songs from both An Awesome Wave and their latest album, This is All Yours. Something to please both the hardcore, old and new fans. But it seemed as though the crowd was mostly hardcore fans. The majority of the rockstar’s songs were sung back to them by a crowd which resembled a sea of hipsters, Tipperary and Kilkenny fans who just arrived from the hurling final in Croke Park.
The crowd’s attention was never broken, even up to the last interval and inevitable encore brought on by thunderous stomping from the seating area and screaming from the standing area. Alt-J returned to the stage where they finished up with an amazing cover of Bill Withers’ Lovely Day, Nara and their most famous successful hit, Breezeblocks.
Overall, this was probably one of the best concerts I have been to. Alt-J really know to put on a show that is both pleasing to hear and watch.