Tag Archives: Alt-J

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L.A. Trio Wildcat! Wildcat! Make a Home at The Bowery Ballroom

November 25th, 2014

Wildcat! Wildcat! – The Bowery Ballroom – November 24, 2014

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Despite taking their name from a reference to Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, Wildcat! Wildcat! don’t sound anything like that film’s soundtrack, but rather they produce hazy tracks perfect for long drives around their home city, Los Angeles. Bassist Jesse Taylor, keyboardist Michael Wilson and drummer Jesse Carmichael garnered plenty of buzz for their early releases, a sold-out 7″ and a self-titled debut EP. And following a busy 2013 touring and supporting Alt-J and Portugal. The Man, the lads released their first full-length album, No Moon at All, this past August.

On an unseasonably warm Monday in New York City, the sunny tracks provided a perfect (if temporary) send-off to the autumn chills. Southern Californians turned The Bowery Ballroom into a party beginning with the slow burner “Tower // W.O.H.L.” Its quiet, starry intro burst into a kaleidoscope of dance beats and an echo of “put your head down low.” The vibe continued with the glimmering guitar lines against floating falsetto on “Garden Grays.” Although they almost played their album in its entirety, Wildcat! Wildcat! made sure to pepper the set with tracks from earlier in their catalog to delight fans.

Notably, Taylor admitted that they hadn’t played “The Chief” in some time, but those in the audience couldn’t tell a bit. Having dropped a cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” on Baeble Music earlier in the day, the trio played their rendition live for the first time. And on a night when Carmichael hacked through not one but two sets of drumsticks, it seemed like nothing could limit the exuberance in the crowded room. Wildcat! Wildcat! ended the show and their tour with an encore of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” —Sharlene Chiu

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Alt-J

September 10th, 2013

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Thanks to their Mercury Award–winning debut album, An Awesome Wave, Alt-J quickly became very popular. So when the U.K. quartet announced their current North American tour—which brings them to town for a couple of weekend shows, on Saturday at Hammerstein Ballroom and on Sunday at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park—tickets went fast. But you’ve still got another chance because The House List is giving away two tickets to Sunday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Alt-J, 9/15) and a brief message explaining what you most like about Alt-J. Eddie Bruiser, who would sincerely like to know, will notify the winner by Friday.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Lord Huron on 6/21

June 18th, 2013

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Whenever Lord Huron come to town it seems like tickets are tough to come by, which is again the case with Friday’s sold-out show at Webster Hall—which also happens to be the first day of summer. The good news, however, is that despite tickets going fast, The House List is giving away two of them. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Lord Huron, 6/21) and a brief message explaining your best tip for spending the summer in New York City. Eddie Bruiser, who could always use a few good ideas, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

(Lord Huron open for Alt-J at Rumsey Playfield on 9/15.)

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Another Milestone for Alt-J

March 25th, 2013

Alt-J – Terminal 5 – March 24, 2013

Alt-J revealed that last night’s sold-out show at Terminal 5 was their biggest audience to date. This admission came directly on the heels of the band’s third song of the evening, “Something Good,” which had directly followed the deeply haunting “Tessellate,” both of which had already removed any doubt that Alt-J, the quirky foursome from Leeds, could handle themselves in a room of any size. Surrounded by marine-style light fixtures—the kind of superfluity that Canvasback Music buys for you when you’re playing Webster Hall on Friday with a Terminal 5 chaser to close the weekend—the band then played “Buffalo,” a song from the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack, another relatively small project that, like Alt-J, exploded into the hearts of many over the past calendar year.

The middle of the set contained “Dissolve Me,” both buzzing and brightly sanctimonious in its final moments. Next, “Fitzpleasure,” a song matched with a strobe and roving red tracer lighting, traded some of the mournful for more of the deeply tribal. With the low end of the arrangement firmly moving the audience, the band screamed their haunting harmonies into the rafters. Slowing toward the end of the main set, Alt-J played the charming “Matilda,” “Bloodflood,” which always sounds a bit like a cold-medicine “Baba O’Riley” live, and the methodical and chilling “MS,” featuring its eerie lyric “the dark seeks dark.”

The set closed with the figuratively murderous and cannibalistic “Breezeblocks.” Those in the audience moved around dutifully, fully in on the joke: No one was really going to die here, even in the dark, all together, singing along about a murder. Closing their encore with the predictably awesome and vaguely Eastern “Taro,” Alt-J left the stage, magnanimous to the end in their T-shirts and jeans, heirs to a growing sense of purpose and size. If this was their biggest gig to date, Terminal 5 represented nothing of a confine. Rather, on this night, it was merely the next spatial iteration for a group of incomparably talented songwriters and performers, likely, on their way to something even larger than three floors worth of 3,000 people. —Geoff Nelson

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(Watch an interview with Alt-J and see them perform “Matilda” and “Ripe & Ruin” for The Bowery Presents Live.)

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Alt-J on 3/22

March 19th, 2013

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After their debut album, An Awesome Wave, won the prestigious Mercury Award last year, the precocious English quartet Alt-J return to New York City this weekend for two sold-out shows, at Webster Hall on Friday and Terminal 5 on Sunday. Predictably, both sold out quickly, but have no fear because The House List is giving away two tickets to Friday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Alt-J, 3/22) and a brief message explaining why you’re excited for this year’s NCAA Tournament. Eddie Bruiser, who’s in five different pools, will notify the winner by Friday.

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A Rubberband Is an Unlikely Instrument

February 8th, 2013

The Bowery Presents and production partner Show Cobra are proud to support the theatrical run of A Rubberband Is an Unlikely Instrument. The film, a New York Times Critics’ Pick, is directed by Matt Boyd and it tells the tale of Walter Baker, an eccentric multi-instrumentalist struggling to create art and make ends meet while raising a son with his third wife, in Brooklyn. And tonight, the documentary begins a weeklong run at Dumbo’s reRun Theater (http://rubberband.eventbrite.com), presented by the IFP and Factory 25. Screenings will include music by Baker and some of the Track + Field sessions Matt directed for The Bowery Presents Live, like Alt-J, Metric, Daughter, Little Green Cars, Virgin Forest and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Exclusive Video: A Second Track + Field Session with Alt-J

December 3rd, 2012

Joe Newman (vocals and guitar), Thom Green (drums), Gwil Sainsbury (guitar and bass) and Gus Unger-Hamilton (keys) met just five years ago while attending Leeds University. But in the short time since, their band, Alt-J, has earned heady comparisons to the likes of Coldplay and Hot Chip. But since their debut LP, An Awesome Wave, and its soaring folk-influenced dub music recently won the prestigious Mercury Prize as the year’s best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland, other bands will now be compared to Alt-J. And in a New York City button shop they perform “Matilda,” one of the album’s lead singles, exclusively for The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube.

While riding around in a van, the quartet discuss listening to Spice Girls, Eurythmics and Paul Simon as kids, who got them into music and how their band’s formative moments happened in a college laundry room. Watch the interview: http://tbp.im/QuNe7J. Check out their performance of “Ripe & Ruin”: http://tbp.im/SzRvr7. And subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live for more performances and interviews like these, and the latest info on our upcoming live-streaming shows.

(Alt-J announced a North American tour, which will bring them to Webster Hall on 3/22.)

Exclusive Video: Alt-J Perform in a Button Shop

October 18th, 2012

In a short time, Alt-J, four lads from Leeds, have become known for their layered, folk-influenced dub music called folk-step. In an Upper East Side button shop, Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton perform “Ripe & Ruin” for The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube. The song is an a cappella interlude from their debut album, An Awesome Wave, which BBC Music says, “spans every workable idea, genre and influence that can be crammed under the guitar-music umbrella, yet it never feels disorientating.”

While riding around in a van, the quartet discuss listening to Spice Girls, Eurythmics and Paul Simon as kids, who got them into music and how their band’s formative moments happened in a college laundry room. Watch the interview: http://tbp.im/QuNe7J. And subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live to watch more performances and interviews like these, and the latest info on our upcoming live-streaming shows.

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Alt-J Are Worthy of the Buzz

September 13th, 2012

Alt-J – The Bowery Ballroom – September 12, 2012


There was a certain geometric incoherence in play as hotly buzzed UK band Alt-J took the stage at a very sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night. Everyone was jammed together in this glorified square to see a band that insisted they were a triangle. See, Alt-J contend their name is more than a collection of letters, instead representing the outcome of a keyboard command, the combination of “Alt” and “J,” which on a Mac makes the shape of a triangle, making their very name an unspeakable symbolic iconography. Every face in the audience pointed toward four faces onstage offering seemingly infinite possibilities. This would all seem overwrought, if it weren’t for the uncommon quality of the band’s debut, An Awesome Wave, and their bizarre and brilliant live show. Somehow helpless against their insistence on three-way vanishing points—or how affected and silly this would seem in less capable hands—the audience and the band intersected over and over, creating a cohesive, if pleasantly limited, little world inside these invented boundaries.

The band opened with “(Interlude 1),” with a choir joining them to offer the band’s Baroque-ish two-part harmonies a chilling and elegiac varnish. One part Mumford & Sons and one part the xx, Alt-J slid between slow-drive, sexy arrangements and these warm duets between guitarist Joe Newman and keys player Gus Unger-Hamilton. “Something Good” and “Dissolve Me,” mid-album and middle-set songs expanded this notion of austere vocals and ebullient keyboard-driven arrangements, accented brightly with tactile guitar picking and high-fret work. The band played their best song, “Breezeblocks,” near the end, the track’s punching vocals and guitars ringing through the balconies as the audience shuffled around chanting lines like “Do you know where the wild things go?” The song’s conclusion, a collision of the lyrics “Please don’t go, I love you so” and “I’d eat you whole,” an awesome and approachable angle to a band that values its weirdness as much as its beautiful arrangements.

“This is the last song on the album,” Unger-Hamilton mumbled over the din as Alt-J returned to play “Taro” as the encore. At least one person in the crowd made the reference that is as controversial as it is possibly correct: “Radiohead.” This is a bit of branding too loaded even for a band currently touring with a gigantic neon triangle as their backdrop. However, there was something undeniable happening here. Alt-J finished the haunting last chords of “Taro” and held up a slightly altered version of the “diamonds in the sky,” triangle-ish hand sign that Jay-Z and Kanye West initiated with a straight face in 2005. The crowd returned it in kind having fully embraced this iconography of two lines and three points. The audience and the band made two of these three, one of the year’s best albums brought to the stage made the third at The Bowery Ballroom, a tidy and discrete geometric universe, a triangle inside a square. —Geoff Nelson

 

 

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Alt-J on

September 11th, 2012

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With the release of their acclaimed debut album, An Awesome Wave, Alt-J have begun to hit it big. And now the English quartet are making their way across the USA, including tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. The show is already sold out, but no worries because The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? Then try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just make sure you fill out the form below, being sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Alt-J, 9/12) and a brief message explaining how you plan to enjoy the last full week of summer. Eddie Bruiser, who’s still checking off things from his list, will notify the winner tomorrow. Good luck.

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