I braved the bitterly cold weather one Sunday evening to make it down to the Concorde 2 (Brighton) to see Alt-J (?) who recently released what I would say is one of my favourite albums of the year. The band is incredibly inventive and original in their song writing – this comes across in their debut release ‘An Awesome Wave’. I was looking forward to seeing how this would translate to the stage.
To my disappointment, Alt-J (?) played every song live as you would hear it on the album. This was a shame as I would have liked to have heard variations on the tracks to get the impression that I was seeing a ‘performing’ live band – rather than listening to an under-produced version of the album in a large, darkened room full of people having a natter.
I couldn’t quite make up my mind as to whether Alt-J (?)’s performance was typical for them. Standing in a very static and unanimated stance, they lacked the ‘feeling’ that performing music should bring – at the very least they could have looked as though they were enjoying themselves. Maybe the success of winning The Mercury Prize and all the late nights that go with it were to blame for this – I wasn’t sure.
For their encore, they played ‘Taro’ which is by far my favourite song off the album. I was interested to find out how they would recreate the Indian-style sounds from the track live. I assumed it would be a sample but I was very wrong – their lead guitarist (Gwil Sainsbury) used a roll of tape as a plectrum tool to create the distinctive melody heard on the recorded version. This worked well live and managed to win back the audiences attention, particularly for the musicians in the audience whose eyes seemed to be locked on Sainsbury’s guitar.
Overall, it seems that I caught Alt-J (?) on a bad night. Perhaps they were indeed