Going into the nearly sold-out alt-J show at the South Side Ballroom, I really did not know what to expect. I had heard really great things about the band but I had not give their albums a solid listening, only referencing their music based off radio plays. If you are basing their music off radio-friendly tracks, you're really missing the point. Most of their catalog would never see the light of day on the radio, a poor fact of 'popular' music. But their music is much more than a popularity contest, as shown by the droves of people who came to see them perform. Their music is about pure emotion.
alt-J were preceded on stage by Brooklyn's San Fermin. Brandishing their brand of dark, 'baroque' pop, the bad was pretty entertaining. A hint of the National, most notably by singer Allen Tate's deep vocals, and a splash of Efterklang, San Fermin made a bunch of fans with their precise, yet rambunctious sound and lively performance. Once alt-J hit the stage, all bets were off. Sporting a King of Limbs-era Radiohead stage setup, complete with rotating video screens and arena-style lighting, the band was engulfed in smoke and non-stop visuals. The band themselves are relatively reserved, showing subtle emotion, far from what resonates in their music. Their set was full of power, both visually and auditory. I was pretty impressed of how well their music sounded live, a feat some bands seem to struggle with, especially with a complex sound as theirs. It was an impressive show. Photos of the show are below:
alt-J / San Fermin @ South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 2:00:00 PM Rating: