Alt-J Continue Their Victory Lap at Central Park’s SummerStage
Success is a funny thing. It’s a mix of talent, hard work, and sheer blind luck. If you sat down with English band Alt-J a year ago and told them they’d be headlining back-to-back sold out shows in two of New York City’s most renowned venues… they probably wouldn’t believe you. But, here they are. After a massively successful (and extended) world tour on the strength of their debut album, they rocked Hammerstein Ballroom on Saturday, and on Sunday night, we got a chance to watch them take on Central Park SummerStage.
There’s rarely this much hype leading up to a show in NYC. One could even say it’s because music fans are spoiled here; there’s always so much happening on a nightly basis. That said, the atmosphere at SummerStage’s final show of the year seemed a little different. Fans arrived early to the scenic Central Park venue, and there was a palpable buzz of excitement.
Opener Lord Huron provided a great backing track of pleasant indie folk, which complemented the crisp, late-summer night. Autumn is quickly approaching, and it’s chill could be felt as the sun began to set behind the canopy of trees surrounding the stage. The picturesque autumnal setting soon gave way to something more like a high-energy rave as Alt-J finally took the stage.
The energy was nothing short of contagious. Anticipated shows like this tend to sell-out very quickly in this city, but this also ensures that the most dedicated fans often score tickets; that much was apparent on Sunday. Everybody was dancing and singing along to songs that beg to be the soundtrack of “good times.” Generous amounts of fog poured out and surrounded the band, while bright flashing lights glistened through the thick vapor. It was almost dream-like.
Alt-J played efficiently, spending little time between songs for crowd interaction, but this did provide a constant flow of music. Songs like “Tessellate” and the thumping “Fitzpleasure” encouraged euphoric dancing, while slow-burners “Something Good” and “Dissolve Me” created a pleasant mellow vibe that allowed fans to bask in the glow of their layered harmonies. It almost seemed like a no-brainer that the night closed with fan-favorite “Breezeblocks.” The infectious anthem had the entire crowd singing every word in unison.
Though the set did run a little short, Alt-J loaded their still limited catalog into just over an hour of highly enjoyable music. They looked like pros out there. Alt-J have come a long way, even from when we declared them Artist of the Week earlier this summer. They’ve grown amazingly from indie upstarts to seasoned performers, and their live show has played a huge part in that success.
Be sure to catch them as they close out their U.S. tour this month.
Article by Nicolas White & Jonathan Miller