Photos of alt-J at Bottom of the Hill

12/18/2012

I wish I had something really good to say about Wildcat! Wildcat!, but I don’t. Ok I do. They did a great cover of Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” but besides that they played a lot of Wes Anderson inspired 90s childhood nostalgic pop music. Yawn. I’m sorry.

It’s hard to believe alt-J have only been touring for a few months. Their debut An Awesome Wave was released in their native UK in May (and September domestically) to much fanfare. The album was instantly a favorite to win the Mercury Prize, and did, handily. The pressure has been on- from premature Radiohead comparisons to multiple headlining UK and US tours with sold out shows.

Having listened to An Awesome Wave obsessively, I have been eagerly following their fresh career anxiously awaiting new music. I was dying to see what else they could do live. They took the stage confident but not cocky. It was clear they were also in awe of their succes and felt the pressure.

They played their entire album flawlessly, it is the only catalog of music they have to play, while also throwing in two new tracks, an original “Buffalo” and a Dr. Dre mashup remix. As a fan it was a moment of truth: was the album a fluke of genius or is their real talent and staying power behind these English art school kids? The new songs proved to establish their brand without erring cliche or regurgitated innovation. It was clean, as if they had been rehearsing for years, which they probably have. Apparently, it took five years to record An Awesome Wave. To put it short: they didn’t let me down.