Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Alt-J @ Zénith, Paris - November 22nd, 2022

Alt-J is touring in support of their excellent new album The Dream, their first release in almost five years, and that time hasn't eroded the public's enthusiasm. In fact, it may have played in their favor: the Zénith was packed, and the crowd went nuts as soon as the opening notes of Bane resonated through the hall, and never wavered until the encores were finished.

The crowd was the real star of the night, dancing and singing throughout, they more than made up for the lack of showmanship on stage: the three guys in Alt-J don't really deal in rock star heroics or pageantry: their music is accessible, but somewhat convoluted and they are concentrated, almost to a fault. That's because they have to reproduce all those intricate vocal harmonies and subtle instrumental parts. So the guys remain static throughout the gig, but the elegant light show does help illustrate the songs.

For this reviewer, the highlight was the Elizabethan doom of Philadelphia, taken from their latest record, and of course the hits from their debut record An Awesome Wave which was released ten years ago, Fitzpleasure and set closer Breezleblocks.

90 minutes of perfectly executed avant-pop, at once experimental and hummable, challenging and danceable.


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