I had never been to a show at the CocaCola Roxy before I saw alt-J tonight. It was their second of two shows in Atlanta, promoting their newest album, Relaxer. This concert allowed me to take a step back to a simpler time when I was 22 and not quite done being a kid yet, and I am grateful.
Photographer: Leelee Hawkins
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the sound quality at the venue and the second was the subtle lighting. The room felt like a swanky nightclub, with chandeliers on the ceiling and a very generous balcony upstairs. When the house lights dimmed, I noticed that there were three sets of lighted pillars separating each of the trio. Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton was furthest away from my spot to the right of the stage with singer Joe Newman in the middle and drummer Thom Green directly in front of me.
Most of their set came from their first album, An Awesome Wave, and I’d venture to say that the crowd was appreciative of the attention it got based on the energy throughout the set. Each song had an accompanying light show, engineered to set the vibe in the room. For faster songs, the lights were brighter and flickered faster; for slower, some seemed to have warmth, akin to a fire. The crowd matched the energy of the lights and their reaction to the purple and black of “Every Other Freckle” was nothing short of magic. Everyone was jumping around and dancing, singing right along at the top of their lungs.
The band brought it back down with “Taro”, with the lights set to a calm white twinkle, much like one you’d find on a smoke-filled restaurant patio in the summertime. The venue loaned a hand to the crowd when it came time for the encore, allowing the crowd to stomp and shake as much as possible to get the band right back on stage to close out strong with “Left Hand Free” and their 2013 hit “Breezeblocks”.
Journalist: Lauren Noble
“English indie rockers Alt-J, named for the delta symbol that appears when pressing “Alt” and “J” on a Mac keyboard, first formed in 2008 under the moniker FILMS. The quartet members, all of whom met at Leeds University, spent two years rehearsing before inking a deal with Infectious Records in 2011. Their signature blend of layered, folk-inflected dub-pop and soaring alternative rock was first heard on the 2012 singles “Matilda” and “Fitzpleasure,” with the group’s full-length studio debut, An Awesome Wave, arriving later that year. The album would eventually go on to earn the prestigious Mercury Prize, alongside three Brit Award nominations. They soon became mainstays on the U.K. and European festival circuit, expanding outward with tours in the U.S. and Australia as well. The band’s increasing success and heavy touring schedule eventually led to the amicable departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury at the end of 2013. The remaining trio of singer/guitarist Joe Newman, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton, and drummer Thom Green continued undeterred, and their sophomore record, This Is All Yours, was issued in the autumn of 2014. Critically well-received, This Is All Yours debuted at number one in the U.K. and fared similarly well in Europe and the U.S., where they earned their first Grammy nomination. In early 2017, Alt-J issued a trio of singles, “3WW,” “In Cold Blood,” and “Adeline,” in anticipation of the release of their third studio long-player, Relaxer, which dropped later that June. ~ Timothy Monger”