been | Alt-J

Coming off the high from their wildly successful first and second albums (An Awesome Wave and This is All Yours) Alt-J released their much anticipated third album earlier this year. RELAXER is a collection of 8 hit-or-miss tracks leaving even die-hard fans a little underwhelmed. So, naturally when they announced their RELAXER tour I was disappointed all the focus would be on their least exciting album. However, I couldn’t stand to miss standout tracks like ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘Deadcrush’ live in Town Hall.

First let me mention the outstanding performance by Clap Clap Riot, the Kiwi five-piece Indie-Rock band who opened the night. They warmed up the crowd with head-banging tunes capturing the attention of the crowd quickly. ‘Crickets in the Grass’ off their new album Dull Life was a definite crowd-pleaser. The lead singer belted ballads and thrashed his guitar with band mates joining him on a bass guitar, keys/guitar and a powerful drum beat.

As a self-proclaimed lighting geek, I took note of the long lights hanging on stage in the dark and waited with anticipation for them  to light up the venue in a dramatic fashion. I was not disappointed, the lights were fascinating, often taking form of skyscrapers. Town Hall was made for shows like this.

Alt-J took their places on stage where they remained for the entirety of the show, the lights acting at times like a cage over each band member. They opened with one of stand out tracks on RELAXER, ‘3WW’ before diving into fan-favourite ‘Something Good’. The sound was stunning, something I’ve come to expect from the venue.

Although there was minimal crowd interaction, Alt-J knew what the crowd wanted serving up nine tracks from An Awesome Wave and five from This Is All Yours. My fears of the show being too RELAXER focused were quickly put to bed. Their set-list was masterfully crafted, including the four best songs from RELAXER sprinkled throughout ending with ‘Pleader’ surprisingly being a show-stopper with it’s choir-like vocals and haunting violin.

The band quickly returned to stage for a thrilling encore of ‘Intro’, ‘Left Hand Free’ and ‘Breezeblocks’ ending the evening with the crowd pleading “Please don’t go/I love you so, I love you so”.

It was one of those shows I immediately mourned the ending of. 5/5.

see the skyscrapers?