alt-J (∆)

alt-J (∆)

with Snakadaktal and City Calm Down

When the line-up for the last weekend's Splendour in the Grass was announced, a 'mystery band' had been included on the bill. It was the worst kept secret of the year. Thanks to a string of tour dates that just happened to surround the Splendour dates (including tonight's gig at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion), there was no mystery about the fact that alt-J (∆) were heading our way.

alt-J's Splendour Sideshow in Sydney last night kicked off with two emerging Melbourne groups, the opener City Calm Down followed by Snakadaktal.

City Calm Down drew a good crowd for their early 7.30pm set, and happy punters enjoyed the group's form of indie electro art. Drawing very much on the likes of Joy Division and New Order, the boys had a strong stage presence and crafted a sense of atmospheric and sonic haunting, especially on first-class tracks like 'Pleasure and Consequence'.

Snakadaktal took over the stage next and with their debut album Sleep in the Water out this Friday through Melbourne based I Oh You Records, they gave folks plenty of reasons to go out and get it. With their XX-ish guitar sounds, the room got moving and shaking, adding to the haunting-vibe that had already filled the venue. The group were relaxed on stage and it was clear they were pretty stoked to be supporting the likes of alt-J. Lead vocalist Phoebe Cockburn thrilled the crowd with her lyrical ability while Sean Heathcliff won everyone over with his infectious smile.

Soon enough, the Hordern was filled with the sounds of Tyga’s, ‘Rack City’ - hard thumping rap beats which had some of the crowd looking a little confused.

Their confusion dissipated soon enough though, as alt-J walked on stage. The place lit up with big roaring applause from the audience.

The boys kicked off with ‘Intro’ before cascading into ‘Something Good’. Joe Newman's strange and quirky vocals sound just as good live as it they do on record, much to everyone’s delight. Working through ‘An Awesome Wave’, the crowd was pleased at the turn of every song, and the singles kept on coming with 'Breezeblocks', 'Tessellate', 'Something Good' and 'Fitzpleasure' mixed into the set.

'Matilda' was a real live highlight for the group. Punters sung along and got involved, establishing the mood for the night as alt-J took us through their soft dreamy sounds and down the river Delta (∆).

After 'Breezeblocks', the boys put their respective instruments down, gave thanks and stated ‘We’ll see you soon’. Soon, it was. Within a minute, they were back on stage for more beat stopping harmonies set within ‘Taro’.
Unfortunately though, once the guitars kicked in they were marred by technical difficulty which sounded like a lead simply wasn't plugged in properly, preventing the crowd from hearing the true effects of the awesome guitar work that is ‘Taro’s’ chorus.

True to classy style though, the band remained in sync and didn’t falter as a roadie ran on stage about five times trying to get the cord plugged in right. A little distracting and off putting for the audience, but alt-J didn't blink an eye. Seems nothing would mar the performance of this stand up band.

alt-j did their award-winning album proud with an epic live performance. If you missed this tour, I strongly advise you not to miss the next one as these guys have the stuff that legends are made of: a flawless sound and plethora of epic recorded tracks which translate even better to the live stage.

alt-J, please come again soon.

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