On saturday I had the one-time opportunity to see mercury prize winners Alt-J perform on their sold out European tour. A couple of months ago they were touring with Two Door Cinema Club and all of a sudden the band just exploded. It all happened a little too fast for Alt-J, it seemed to me when I first saw them live.
When I got to the venue support act Stealing Sheep were already in the middle of their set and the bar cue seemed endless while outside scalpers were selling tickets for no less than 50€, which is about twice the original price.
Alt-J took the stage at 9pm sharp with Intro from their debut An Awesome wave which lead straight into the acapella piece (The Ripe & Ruin) and Tessellate, just like on the record. This is the major issue I had with the entire gig, Alt-J never seemed to stray from their recordings. While the performance was solid and the vocals were absolutely excellent, the band lost no time talking to the audience or doing anything out of the ordinary. Especially their “hits” Fitzpleasure and Breezeblocks have just the right potential for some extra live gimmicks.
Other than their album tracks Alt-J played Buffalo (from The Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack) and Hand-Made, an acoustic song that is a hidden track on the album.
The set, including the encore, was finished after just 50 minutes. Granted that they only have one album to fall back on but for the 20 something € I think one can expect a longer set. Then again, this may just be Alt-J’s biggest problem. Their music clearly wasn’t meant for a 1000 capacity venue but rather for your average club stage. I have no doubt that Alt-J will be back soon playing even bigger venues. How that works out for the band remains to be seen.