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Alt-J hits hard at Riverside

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Since their last Milwaukee show, I’ve been waiting on Alt-J’s return as patiently as humanly possible. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’ve been itching to see them with an intensity that borders on intimidating.

Last night, the band did not disappoint. After a pretty great performance from LA-based opener NoMBe, the curtains came down as the crew prepared for a multi-faceted sound and color show.

After what seemed like an hour of waiting (it was 15, tops), it was time for the show to start. The band took the stage to a screaming crowd and flashing lights. As each strobe struck, you’d see a snapshot of the musicians, nothing more.

Guitarist and lead singer Joe Newman was stage left and the next second he was standing center stage. He paused for a moment, and began.

The band wasted no time setting the mood. They immediately began the brooding sound of “3WW,” the first single from their newest album, “Relaxer.”

Photos courtesy of The Pabst Theater Group

Throughout the show, the visuals were just as stunning as the music. From flowing blues to deep purples to perfectly-timed flashes of bright white, the concert was a sight to see. The light show could have stood alone and sold tickets, but what truly set this event apart was the flawless union of color and sound.

To end the pensive “Dissolve Me,” the lights faded as did the instruments, leaving only Newman’s vocals to focus on. Later, wrapping a ribbon on the performance, the chorus of the band’s hit “Breezeblocks” struck hard and fast on the already-passionate audience.

The attention to detail, not only in the band’s recordings, but also in the execution of their live shows is what truly sets Alt-J apart from other bands. You can bet the next time they come to town, I’ll be there, too.

 

FULL SETLIST:

3WW

Something Good

Interlude 1

Tessallate

Deadcrush

Nara

In Cold Blood

Dissolve Me

Matilda

The Gospel of John Hurt

Bloodflood

Every Other Freckle

Taro

Adeline

Pleader

Fitzpleasure

Encore:

Intro (This Is All Yours)

Left Hand Free

Breezeblocks

 

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