On Monday evening, the energy of anticipation filled the air at HISTORY, where Alt-J's monumental celebration of the 10th anniversary"An Awesome Wave." As a devoted fan, the mere thought of witnessing the band live, unraveling the intricate layers of an album that has been the soundtrack to countless moments in my life, was so exciting.
As the lights dimmed, a collective hush fell over the audience. The familiar opening chords of "Intro" resonated through the venue, signaling the beginning of a musical odyssey. Alt-J, silhouetted against an artfully designed stage, unleashed a sonic cascade that transported the crowd back to the very essence of "An Awesome Wave."
The seamless transition from "Interlude 1" to "Tessellate" showcased Alt-J's mastery in creating a live experience that transcends the boundaries of a traditional concert. The visuals, synchronized with the music, painted an ethereal backdrop that enhanced the immersive nature of the performance.
Alt-J's ability to capture the nuances of their studio recordings while infusing each note with a raw, live energy was truly commendable. "Breezeblocks" reverberated through the venue, the haunting vocals and rhythmic beats creating a palpable tension that erupted into a cathartic release. The crowd, swaying in unison, became a living, breathing entity, connected by the shared emotional journey mapped out by the band.
As "Something Good" and "Dissolve Me" unfolded, it became evident that Alt-J wasn't merely recreating their album; they were reinterpreting it, breathing new life into tracks that have become anthems for a generation. The chemistry between the band members was palpable, each one contributing to the collective magic that defined the evening.
The visual elements of the performance added another layer of complexity to the experience. Artistic projections, reminiscent of the album's cover art, danced across the stage, creating a visual narrative that complemented the sonic landscape. The interplay between light and shadow heightened the emotional peaks and troughs, transforming the concert into a multisensory feast.
During "Matilda" and "Bloodflood," the venue was awash with a sea of colored lights, mirroring the ebb and flow of the music. Alt-J's commitment to providing a holistic experience was evident, and it was a testament to their dedication to ensuring that every aspect of the performance resonated with the audience.
Alt-J's enigmatic stage presence was a force that held the audience captive throughout the night. Joe Newman's distinct vocals, often haunting and ethereal, captured the essence of the album's lyrical depth. Gus Unger-Hamilton's keyboard skills added a layer of complexity, while Thom Sonny Green's percussive mastery provided the heartbeat of the performance.
The encore, featuring "Fitzpleasure" and "Taro," left the crowd in a state of euphoria. Alt-J had not only celebrated a decade of "An Awesome Wave" but had also created a moment in time that would forever be etched in the memories of everyone present.
Beyond the music, the concert at HISTORY was a celebration of community. There was a beautiful energy in the air with attendees all connected by the shared love for Alt-J and the profound impact "An Awesome Wave" had on their lives. In those moments, it wasn't just a concert; it was a collective experience, a shared journey through the waves of emotion and sonic brilliance.
As I left HISTORY that Monday night, the echoes of Alt-J's performance lingered in my mind. The 10th anniversary celebration of "An Awesome Wave" had not just been a concert; it had been a testament to the enduring power of music to transcend time and create moments that resonate with the soul. Alt-J had not only revisited their past but had also paved the way for the future, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of everyone fortunate enough to be part of that magical evening.
Written and photographed by Gemma Mastroianni