Photos By Blinkofaneye, Words By Courtney Pitman
Alt-J made a triumphant return to the 9:30 Club for two sold out shows this week, treating rabid fans to an evening of musical bliss accompanied by a stellar light show. The group played through most of their debut album, An Awesome Wave, with panels of lights setting the appropriate mood for each offering.
Highlights from the evening included bigger numbers like “Fitzpleasure” and “Dissolve Me,” but the real showcase of their live performance are the more intricate harmonies. Alt-J’s quieter moments are present on their album but can easily become lost among the louder features (think the DA-DA-DA-DA-DA on “Breezeblocks”). With the lights casting shadowy silhouettes and an audience at rapt attention, the a cappella “Interlude I (Ripe & Ruin)” was an absolute masterpiece, their voices weaving a blanket that slowly descended upon the crowd.
The evening’s closer, “Breezeblocks,” was unsurprisingly stunning, perfectly capturing the entire evening’s essence in those last few minutes. Anticipating the selection, the crowd had started bopping before they even played the first note, and the movement morphed into a swaying sea while flashing lights illuminated and then obscured the band. Closing the song and the set, the vocal performances on “please don’t go please don’t go/I love you so I love you so” burrowed deep in my chest and the pleading harmonies actually breaking my heart.
I felt transported by Alt-J, like I was in my own little world where they were playing just for me. And then I looked around… and I realized everyone was thinking the exact same thing.