alt-J – Live Review At Leeds Academy

After the release of their fourth album, The Dream, this year, alt-J returned to where it all started in Leeds, as part of their UK-wide tour. With them were Oklahoma based indie-folk band Wilderado.

Review by Edward Bradshaw

Photos by Sophie Grace

Being based in America, with the accent to match, Wilderado certainly had a different style of music to alt-J. But they definitely bought their A-game to Leeds. With a mix of indie and folk styles, Wilderado offered a fresh sound to captivate and warm up the audience.

They played a mixture of songs from across their albums, especially from their most recent and first full album, which was released last year. They ended their set on their oldest song, Rubble to Rubble, which was written to encapsulate taking the next stage in life – in this case the lead singer entering fatherhood. A change of pace with a stripped-back acoustic sound and their accents coming through led to an encapsulating experience.

Following this, alt-J were ready to take to the stage, with the crowd having doubled in size since Wilderado. The room was packed with expecting fans as alt-J began with Bane, straight off their newest album. Straight off the bat this song fits into the repertoire of alt-J songs. It has a great build up and powerful and distinctive lyrics, with its pace and energy building throughout.

A mix of songs from all albums followed with In Cold Blood really picking the crowd up, their voices resonating with the band. Soon after, Interlude 1 into Tesselate featured, with some incredible harmonising. Joe and Gus’ vocals really shone through.

Before Matilda began, the usual sign of ‘I am Matilda’ was spotted in the crowds, and the song became a dedication to this fan. Up until now the crowd had been active, but not at their full capacity, but this became the turning point for the night as everyone joined in with the infectious chorus.

Dissolve Me’s signature pop-like intro began and instinctively the crowd joined in. The ending saw a spectacular blend of vocals that really showcased alt-J’s talents. All of this then led into Fitzpleasure, which had the best response of the night. Despite all the great new songs from the album, there was a definite air of favourites from their first album, highlighted in how much of a masterpiece this song is.

After over an hour’s set, alt-J left the stage, before returning to the set with a message of solidarity for Ukraine. They then played a perfect final mix of Left Hand Free, Hard Drive Gold and Breezeblocks, sending off the night with a bang.