Beaming their way into the souls of everyone in the Shrine Auditorium with their prismatic light shows as much as their colossal atmospherics, Alt-J has become the arena consuming rock band they’ve always meant to be. With Joe Newman’s iconic high-pitched mumble weaving its way through the trio’s guitar/percussion grooves and spirals, the band’s sound is all engulfing in its breadth. Playing tracks from their most recent release Relaxer the scope of Alt-J has only grown exponentially, opening with the buzzing sonics of “3WW” and bursting the melody open with blasts of light. Separated in their own personal cages of light, Newman and company were as dazzling in their quietest instrumentals and arduous melodies. Whether it was being trapped in the luminous vibrations of “Tessellate” or moody flourishing in “Every Other Freckle,” there was nowhere to hide or bar your soul from the incessantly infectious tendrils of Alt-J’s tones.
Opening for Alt-J and descending from the same ethereal realm as the trio, otherworldly crooner and suave beat-master Sohn entranced the Shrine audience with ease. Piercing hearts with his crytalized murmurs and wails, Sohn is a prime example of what artists can accomplish with so little. Backed by his two band mates, Sohn gripped in an impossible tenderness the bemoaning and surging themes of his synth-bathed tunes.
Words and photography by Steven Ward