There is something hypnotic about watching Alt-J perform.
The wispy blend of frontman Joe Newman’s lowly vocals, their polyrhythmic style, and dystopian light set-up create a surreal experience that left San Diego State stunned on Tuesday, October 13th.
On the second half of their “This Is All Yours” tour, the indie band from across the pond gave a spectacular performance for all of San Diego to enjoy. Their enigmatic sound has amassed them a large following, mystifying pop-skeptics with their sold-out crowds. Alt-J may not be the most accessible band, but their songs focus more on delivering a lasting impact with the audience, rather than capturing them with catchy verses. I am a huge fan of the band, but even I find myself questioning, how did they get so big? Maybe everyone else is caught under a trance like me. Often times I found myself belting out lyrics with my eyes closed, as if they were specifically singing to me. Singing along with a wave of fans to “Something Good” or “Taro” was an almost out of body experience. Alt-J nail this mysterious atmosphere that hypnotize you, be it their melancholy lyrics or bombastic light show.
Beginning their set with their second album’s “Intro” into “Every Other Freckle”, Alt-J commanded the crowd’s attention from the very beginning. Whipping out their popular radio-hit, “Left Hand Free”, the English band from Leeds serenaded the crowd with Parts 1 and 2 of Bloodflood. Alt-J picked up the pace with one of their lighter songs in “Dissolve Me”, before slowing it down again with crowd favorite, “Matilda”.
The a capella “Interlude” from the band’s first album harmonized the crowd before “Tessellate” set San Diego ablaze. After the energetic romp, the band created an intimate atmosphere with “The Gospel of John Hunt” and their rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day”, before moving on to the ballads of “Nara” and “Leaving Nara”. Crowd favorite “Fitzspleasure” wrapped up their initial performance and was met with an eruption of cheers; cheers that beckoned for more.
With the lights dead, the band returned on stage to perform four set encore, starting with “Hunger of the Pine”, using a solemn blue light accompanied with a lonely key-stroke to mesmerize the crowd once more . With the Miley Cyrus sample echoing in the background, we were all female rebels. Everyone was on their feet and singing at the top of their lungs as Alt-J closed out the night with “Breezeblocks”, the band’s biggest song. The round-a-bout final chorus had the whole Open Air Theater dancing and singing along, “Please don’t go, please don’t go, I love you so I love you so [Alt-J]” as the night came to a close.