alt-J w/ Great Wilderness – Concert Review

alt-J w/ Great Wilderness
Crystal Ballroom
12.16.2014

IMG_3826For the last five days, we’ve been bringing you a flood of articles in our Seven Days of Christmas series. Concert reviews, interviews. Today, we bring you Day Six of the series. Our last night at December to Remember brought us to a place we’ve been waiting to be for a very long time. Where? A full alt-J gig!

I, personally, have seen these guys before. Back in October, I got a last minute invitation to see two of the three play a short acoustic set at the Bing Lounge (Watch their set here, including the infamous Gus Fart version of “Left Hand Free”). That hardly counted though. I was ready to take on the real thing. A full hour of power in the form of sound.

So, finally, after missing many, many Portland shows, I finally made it.

The night began with local band, Great Wilderness. Since seeing their name listed as the opener for this set, I’d taken some time to give their material a listen. From what I heard, I was looking forward to seeing them. They have this classic airy folk sound. It sounds like a beach drive, salty air, and miles of green forest. I couldn’t wait to see what they brought to a live set.

From what I saw of them, it was wholly enjoyable. Live, they weren’t quite as good as they sound on a record, but, as with any opener, with the right crowd, the set would’ve been solid.

Though, however good of an opening set there may have been, it was time I got my alt-J fix. I have been waiting too long for this. I wanted it to happen. And happen it did.

The trio opened with their first single off the latest record, This Is All Yours, “Hunger of the Pine”. From the very beginning, the crowd was crazy for it. And from the start on, you could feel the power surging through the room.

If you’re familiar with alt-J, you’ll know partly what I’m talking about. If you’ve seen a full live show, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Their sound hits you like a wall, or, an awesome wave (Sorry. Had to). Every note just enters your body and psyche, and transports you to this whole new state of being. They don’t move around the stage. But, the sound they make. It’s indescribable.

They started off strong, and never died. Through older tracks like “Fitzpleasure”, “Tessellate”, and “Bloodflood”, the same thing held true. With new songs, like “Left Hand Free”, “Every Other Freckle”, and “Bloodflood Pt. II”, the energy and power never dwindled. alt-J live is a whole experience. It’s something I wish I could relive night and night again. And, when they return (hopefully very soon), I will. And really, so should you.

After such an amazing show, one of the best I’ve ever seen, it’s time to take a little break. Let it sink in. Tomorrow, Christmas, we’ll break for all of our holiday necessities and family occasions. Then, on the 26th, our seventh and final day, an album review is headed your way. What album? Guess you’ll have to wait and find out… 😉

Merry Christmas from indie/alt! Enjoy your holiday!

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