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Alt-J (∆) Live at the Rialto in Tucson AZ

Hot on the heels of their Grammy nomination earlier in the week Alt-J (∆) managed to fit a last minute show on their schedule travelling through Tucson; the excitement for this particular performance could be felt throughout the Southwest as their initial absence proved disheartening for many fans. ∆’s performance almost two months prior at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco still has me reeling, making this particular show a must see.

The night began with Talk In Tongues—an emerging Psych-Rock group out of Los Angeles. Admittedly my knowledge of Talk In Tongues was mitigated to the two tracks I could find on Spotify, and unfortunately they were less than appealing. I suppose the good thing from that particular exchange is it did set the bar low…with that being said Talk In Tongues blew away any expectations.

The Rialto’s steady policy shifts have continued, as was the case with Catpower in September, they have placed a moratorium on cameras that aren’t able to fit in your pocket. Instead it appears that the only individuals able to take photos at the rialto with anything more than a point and shoot have paid for the privilege of exclusivity, effectively hampering and detouring any potential newbies from pursuing an exciting career in concert photography. Sure it forces some back into the show, but when everyone has their cell phones in the air anyway, wouldn’t some additional solid quality photos be a welcomed change from the plethora of intagrammed pics and flicks?

∆’s sets are well crafted, and well rehearsed with the core performance being a constant and their encores varying slightly. Though this may take some of the excitement that comes with spontaneity, there are very distinct and specific reasons as to the flow, even down to the customary “how you doing <insert city name>,”during Fitzpleasure.

Bloodsport part one into Bloodsport part two is a stellar combination, despite it being clearly broken in the middle. If I may be so bold combining the two into one epic track live would be something truly indelible, similar to Bon Iver’s Creature Fear and Team being played without pause, or Phoenix’s Love Like a Sunset Parts one and Two fitting serenely in the middle of their sets.

Ultimately ∆’s sound takes on a new presence live as oppose to their records; there’s a deeper almost primordial rhythm that comes out in the heavier bass and percussions absent from the cd. The setup that had been at Treasure Island was missing, either due to the smaller space at the Rialto, or it’s only reserved for festivals and big events. The crowd is the other major part to the show, by this point most fans have had the band on repeat with this comes a massive sing-along… there’s something truly special about being able to share in these types of moments with a couple thousand people.

After the vast amount of shows I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, Alt-J (∆) stands as a prominent memory, and it’s one that I believe will stay up in the top of those experience for quite some time.

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