Live Music Review: alt-J and Ásgeir / Rod Laver Arena Melbourne, May 10


Ásgeir, alt-J, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, May 10 2015, live music, review, concert, Bramble and Thorn

Two fun things happened on Sunday: I turned 26 years old, and I saw one of my favourite bands perform live. Ok, so turning 26 isn’t exactly an event (particularly when you share it with Mother’s Day), but since I still get carded when buying alcohol and going out, I’m not quite ready to crack out the walking frame just yet. Anyway, I bought tickets to see alt-J quite a few months ago, as they’re one of my favourite bands and are one of the few that I haven’t seen live. They were performing at Rod Laver Arena, which, if you’re not familiar with Melbourne, is a stadium that generally houses pretty big international acts (I’ve seen Coldplay and Muse play there a couple of times, to give you an idea). As you can imagine, it’s kind of strange that they were playing at such a huge venue, given that many people react with a “who?” when you tell them the name of the band.

Ásgeir, alt-J, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, May 10 2015, live music, review, concert, Bramble and Thorn
Nevertheless, they drew a pretty impressive audience on Sunday night, probably aided in part by the support act, Ásgeir: Icelandic superstar with the voice of an angel. I was really impressed that this voice was just as beautiful in person as it is on his album, and given the short length of his songs he played quite a few off his debut album In The Silence, including King and Cross, Going Home, and Higher.

Of course, when alt-J came on stage I just about lost it, particularly since the opening notes from Hunger Of The Pine began playing as they walked on stage (probably my favourite song from their latest album). Unfortunately, the performance fell a little flat – I don’t know what was going on, but they sounded really out of key. When Miley Cyrus' backup vocals singing “I’m a female rebel” get a better reception than the actual song, you know something is wrong.

Ásgeir, alt-J, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, May 10 2015, live music, review, concert, Bramble and Thorn
Fortunately things picked up from there, and I was treated to a mesmerising performance from some truly talented musicians. The light show was perfectly choreographed with the music which made for quite the visually impressive concert. Along with this, the setlist was pretty incredible. It was perfectly paced with both mellow and guitar-heavy songs, which kept things very interesting throughout the night. Highlights for me were definitely Taro, Fitzpleasure, Nara, and Something Good, all beautiful songs performed brilliantly.

Ásgeir, alt-J, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, May 10 2015, live music, review, concert, Bramble and Thorn
Of course, the final song for the night was Breezeblocks, which I have to admit has never really been one of my favourites. However, you can’t deny that it really gets the crowd going and was a great finishing number. There's something really incredible about being in a huge venue with everyone singing all the words along with the band.

It was a great way to celebrate my birthday and I would definitely recommend checking out alt-J if you haven't heard of them before - I've put together a quick top 10 of my favourite songs of theirs for your listening pleasure below!

Top 10 songs by alt-J
3 / Taro
5 / Nara
6 / Intro (An Awesome Wave)
9 / Matilda

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