Concert Review: alt-J's Sold-Out show lights up The Orpheum

Dec 19 2017, 8:25 pm

Opening their set strong with one of their latest singles “Hunger of the Pine,” it was clear the Vancouver crowd were in for a treat on Tuesday evening at alt-J’s sold-out show at The Orpheum. The lads from Leeds, U.K, started their 2014 North American tour here in support of their second album “This is All Yours,” which was released last month.

Looking at their tour schedule, a list which is dominated by the words “Sold-Out” next to many upcoming shows, it comes as no surprise that some fans forked out up to $150 per ticket outside the venue to attend the Vancouver show last minute. Inside the beautiful venue, the generally well-dressed crowd included fans already in their new alt-J (also known as “∆”) gear, fresh off the merch table.

Although the year started with the amicable departure of the band’s guitar/bassist Gwill Sainsbury, the rest of the band- including lead vocalist/guitarist Joe Newman, keyboardist/vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton, and their talented drummer Thom Green- were joined by support member Cameron Knight for this tour. The addition is unnoticeable, as the band played an almost flawless show, and a balanced mix of old and new tracks, to start off their tour.

The stage was a lightshow from the start to the end, with plenty of stage smoke to fill the Orpheum with the vibes of each track. From red lights, to blue, and purple, each song the crowd sang along, and loud applause and whistles was heard throughout the evening. At the start of “Fitzpleasure”, the audience begins to clap in unison, which they did again a few songs later during the first single off their latest release “Left Hand Free.”

Besides the smoke and the lights, alt-J’s talent lies in their synced melodies, combining layers of sounds and vocals to produce a sound unique to the band. And the acoustics at The Orpheum gave off a crisp sound that complemented the band in an almost perfect manner, something the band also noted.

“It’s great to be back in the city, in this amazing venue,” said Unger-Hamilton, who thanked the audience throughout the evening, and was the chattier of the bunch. Although silent, Green’s drumming is truly majestic to watch, and he shines during the performance of “Tessellate.”

As it is the start of their tour, Newman’s microphone screeched at one point, to which he acknowledged and apologizes for with a smile. And the fans didn’t seem to mind, they just wanted more. Their encore began with a surprising, and well-done, cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” followed by “Nara,” and their biggest single to date “Breezeblocks.” The lights were flashing, the crowd was dancing, and when it was all over, the award winning alt-J thanked Vancouver. But looking around at the smiling faces, still mesmerized by sounds and lights as they departed, it seems fans were more grateful for such an incredible Tuesday night in the city.

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DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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