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Review of alt-J's Life Is Beautiful Tour

Corinne Osnos |
October 23, 2014 | 12:04 p.m. PDT

Staff Contributor

alt-J performing live. (Tumblr/altjaying)
alt-J performing live. (Tumblr/altjaying)
alt-J came to the West side for a performance at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on October 20th and at the Fox Theatre in Pomona the following night as part of the Life Is Beautiful tour; the latter a good option for those who wanted to shave some numbers off a pricey ticket. In retrospect, however, I would have personally gone both days and paid the full-price - the show was beyond worth it. Opening with chart-topper "Hunger of The Pines," alt-J enlivened the crowd from the moment the music started. Sadly, Miley did not make a guest appearance. 

alt-J's songs are great for the vibes they produce. Their sound translates seamlessly to live performance. Playing indie rock with an electronic edge, all of their songs have a melodic feel and hypnotizing effect on the listener. The light show flooded the crowd with bright, swirling colors and tectonic shapes while illuminating the four male musicians in a sort of twilight effect. The accompanying haunting vocals of lead singer Joe Newman sealed the surreal experience. Their music has a definite individualizing effect, taking the listener out of the crowd and venue and into a trance-like state.This was  crucial to enjoyment, as the Fox Theatre resembles an old movie theatre (not in a cool way). 

I remember being blown away by alt-j, a then-little-known band, for the first time during their performance at Bonnaroo music festival in the summer of 2013. With the release of their second album, This Is All Yours, a maturation in their style is evident. With an arguably quieter and more somber tone than the breakout album, An Awesome Wave, alt-J's newest tracks tend to showcase vocals. Delicate tracks like "Lovely Day" and "Pusher" were performed at the live show, leaving the crowd swaying and speechless - too enraptured to even sing along. 

Dancier numbers such as "Every Other Freckle" and "Left Hand Free" juxtaposed the more tranquil tracks, reviving an infectious crowd of people grooving along to the beat. To maximize crowd appeal, the band judiciously performed about an equal number of songs off their old as their new album. "Breezeblocks" was played not once, but twice, as by request in the encore. This was actually the most anticlimactic part in my opinion, because I found myself drawn to the mellowed and matured style of their new tracks, which seem to better capture their talent and ability to play more than just party music. 

Reach Staff Contributor Corrine Osnos here.



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