Two years have passed since we first encountered Alt-J’s own spectacular brand of indie music at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. In that small, sweaty space a couple hundred unsuspecting students and Ann Arborites lost their hearts to the band’s reverberant beats and bizarre lyrical creativity just a mere few days before they won the United Kingdom’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize for Best Album of the Year. Since then, the self-dubbed “folk-step” group has surpassed the hopes of their dedicated fan base, riding the admittedly awesome wave – haha – of their new fame to all corners of the world. This time, they played for over a thousand people in The Fillmore’s sparkling concert hall, and although the space was very large (though still sweaty), ticket prices steeper and the set list a little longer, Alt-J continues to radiate that same musical brilliance that captivated us in 2012.
They kicked off their performance with a rendition of “Hunger Of The Pine”, followed by “Fitzpleasure” – two strong picks from their first and latest album that drove the crowd into a flurry of unrestrained excitement. Soon enough there were quite a few delta’s being thrown into the air, which sparked dedicational rivalry among the die-hards who can’t decide what the proper hand-finger placement is (does anyone really know?). Until there’s an official decision on this front, it’s probably safest to stick to making ∆’s on your keyboard and in Instagram captions.
The show showcased a perfect blend of first album favorites and tasty tidbits from This Is All Yours, which the band released in September. Joe Newman’s trademark vocals led us through choice picks like “Something Good”, “Tessellate”, “Interlude 1”, “Warm Foothills”, and “Left Hand Free” with some harmonious help from Gus Unger-Hamilton, whom we interviewed a while back.
“Breezeblocks” appropriately concluded the set, met with an approving roar from the fans. Alt-J refuses to disappoint with a second sold-out (and objectively magical) appearance in Detroit – we can't wait for the next one.
Feature Photo courtesy of Mark Cohrs