Having played a massive, sold-out show at Madison Square Garden earlier this year, Leeds quartet alt-J played a far more intimate show at the iHeartRadio Theater. Part of a livestream on both iHeartRadio and Tidal, the set also included a live Q&A session with Radio 104.5 DJ, Wendy Rollins. The band discussed their approach to songwriting, having inspiration from books like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Last Exit to Brooklyn.” In these references to New York, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton spoke about their relationship to the Iguana Studio in London, not having any preference towards bigger name studios.
With two records under their belt, the band’s origins in 2012 saw them playing venues like Webster Hall, Mercury Lounge, and even an earlier set at Governors Ball in 2013, the band’s meteoric rise has come as a surprise for a band whose sound has been regarded as unparalleled. Having lost founding member Gwill Sainsbury before the release of their most recent record “This Is All Yours” he was replaced by current touring member, Cameron Knight who had the band covered on bass, guitar, and percussion.
Due to the Q&A session, the band’s set was altered drastically from their typical tour setlist. Covering the major hitsin the first half of the show, opening with “Hunger of the Pine” and “Breezeblocks” before playing their deeper cuts like “Something Good” and “Bloodflood” and even a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.”
Translating their set to a far smaller venue for only 200 people, showed the band far more exposed than they had been used to on a massive arena tour, from the disparity between sampler pads and live percussion made for some stark dynamics. However, the band’s impeccable lighting set up was well-reflected by the intimate setting and allowed for an optimal view of the band.
Hunger of the Pine
Left Hand Free
The Gospel of John Hurt
Every Other Freckle
(Bill Withers cover)