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30th October 2018

Live Review: alt-J

Seeing alt-J live at The Bridgewater Hall felt like a spiritual experience – completely breathtaking and utterly mesmerising, writes contributor Alex Wain
Live Review: alt-J
Photo: alt-J @ The Mancunion

World famous indie rock band alt-J came to Manchester on Sunday night as part of their current tour supporting their newest album REDUXER and honestly, it was one of the best performances that I have ever been to in my entire life.

After arriving at the beautiful Bridgewater Hall  (one of Manchester’s most stunning venues) and taking our seats, mere minutes before alt-J were set to perform, the fire alarm went off, prompting an unexpected setback to the show. Nervously, we waited outside for the building to be assessed and to be let back in, but by the time we were back in our seats and the lights went down I knew this was going to be incredible regardless.

After apologising for the delay, the band confidently stepped on stage. The steady intro of ‘Something Good’ began and the hanging strips of LED lights placed evenly between the trio twinkled in time as they swept the whole of the audience into an entrancing set of live music. Believe me when I say that this was an absolutely beautiful piece of art and stage design, and the whole setlist flowed effortlessly between songs. The transitions allowed fans to anticipate some old favourites whilst seamlessly intertwining their new releases enabled alt-J to put on a show far more exciting than any time I have seen them live before.

‘Every Other Freckle’ was played in a sea of dark, pink smokey light, with flashing strobes emphasising the build-up and bathing the audience in a sea of colour. The band were positioned perfectly so that the lights surrounding them shone on to the crowd, leaving the guys on stage to appear like mysterious silhouettes amongst the smoke. ‘Hunger of the Pine’ was particularly beautiful, with red lighting looking like shooting fireworks set off in sync with the song. ‘Tessellate’ was gorgeous, complemented by dreamy blue and white beams of light. Although it might sound odd that I am discussing the colours of their performance so heavily, they were entirely integral to the show. Each track had a different aesthetic, one that I could only imagine as alt-J’s own visualisation of what their individual songs embodied — it was ridiculously immersive.

Despite the delay to start, the band still performed an encore, finally ending the set with one of their most well-known songs: ‘Breezeblocks’. For this, the whole audience was on their feet dancing and singing along to the words “Please don’t go, please don’t go- I love you so, I love you so” over and over as if that was the only thing in the world that mattered. In one final display of vibrancy, Bridgewater Hall was bathed in the colour yellow for their final song to match the mood of everyone in that venue: pure elation.

If there’s one thing I hope you take from reading this it is to go and see alt-J live as soon as you possibly can — they will blow your mind.


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