Nothing was ordinary about this alt-J show — not that anything is ever ordinary from the artful British band.
But on Tuesday night at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, alt-J would play its first concert in eight months: its first without departed friend and bassist/guitarist Gwil Sainsbury, its first with touring member Cameron Knight, and its first playing songs from the upcoming album This Is All Yours.
The new songs have all the power of the old ones, flush with textured sounds from Gus Unger-Hamilton's electronic horns, steel drums, voices, and dense washes of grit. Lyrically, the new songs are equal parts creepy, lovely, puzzling, and expressive. In that expression is precision; you can see it in drummer Thom Green (watch his left hand) and you can hear it in the guitar dynamics and vocal phrasing of Joe Newman. This isn't a band of pyrotechnic wizards, but alt-J's technical prowess helped make this performance a deep pleasure on an extraordinary evening. --Bob Boilen
SET LIST Hunger Of The Pine - 0:28 Fitzpleasure - 5:10 Something Good - 9:00 Left Hand Free - 12:58 Dissolve Me - 16:10 Matilda - 20:29 Bloodflood Pt. 2 - 24:39 Tessellate - 29:48 Every Other Freckle - 34:26 Taro - 38:22 Warm Foothills - 43:32 The Gospel Of John Hurt - 47:03 Nara/Leaving Nara - 53:05 Breezeblocks - 58:35
CREDITS Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Otis Hart; Event Producer: Saidah Blount; Hosts: Bob Boilen, Russ Borris; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Colin Marshall, Maia Stern, A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Additional Editing: Colin Marshall; Special Thanks: (Le) Poisson Rouge; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann