I couldn’t help but feel an intense sense of anticipation when I found I’d be going to see Alt-J at London’s greatest venue. But Alt-J aren’t renowned as an arena band – this was, by far, their biggest gig to date. Popular though they have become, the Mercury Prize winners are known for their intimate sound. I was sceptical that it would translate to the big stage. I needn’t have worried – the entire evening was simply magical.
The band’s devoted following came good – the O2 Arena was sold out and was absolutely rocking. Having had more than ample support from popular up-and-comers Genghar and the stunning and established Wolf Alice, the strains of Hunger of the Pine announced the arrival of Alt-J, and the band were met with wild and rapturous applause. A clever set-list followed, peppered with favourites from both of their highly successful albums, and was thoughtfully chosen – the songs from their breakthrough album An Awesome Wave (which has been streamed on Spotify over 200 million times) complementing the new material perfectly.
The lead single of This is All Yours, Hunger of the Pine gave way to the almost anthemic and instantly recognisable Fitzpleasure. Bloodflood and Bloodflood Part II was an obvious and effective pairing. The cheeky and sultry Tessellate segued into the cheeky and sultry Every Other Freckle, my favourite part of the night. An impressive light-show ran throughout the evening and all of the special effects came together – Taro, in particular, looked and sounded stunning. It was all done really, really well.
I’d never been to see a gig at The O2 before, but I know for a fact that this won’t be my last. The sheer vastness, and excellent acoustics, lend to a magnificent atmosphere that’s difficult to beat.
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