alt-j+ Warpaint: Live review | Riverstage | Sunday 10 December 2017

You know how some nights just come together? Perfect balmy Brisbane December night. Uber cool gig buddies. A 17-year-old son, sans attitude. Groovy, arm-waving dancers, high on life in front of us. And the most epically awesome music and light show from alt-j.

Opening for alt-j on their Australian tour were the surprise package Warpaint. This North American indie outfit were solid performers, and although having the look of a folk act they could rock the psychedelia and banging beats with confidence.

UK indie trio alt-j could be forgiven for tiredness, being the last night of the Australian RELAXER tour, but they brought the goods from beginning to end. While they are not physical in terms of their movement around the stage, their Jackson Pollock ‘Blue Poles’ – esque lighting/set design did the heavy lifting of presence, bedazzlement and accompaniment to the tunes.

Starting with the more mellow ‘3ww’ and ‘Something Good’ the crowd was warming nicely and having a sway up the natural amphitheatre as they rolled effortlessly into the popular ‘Tessellate’. The band are notoriously shy on stage and not much for between-song banter although to hear guitarist Joe and keyboard player Gus talk in a recent radio interview they shone as lovely, humorous men.

The bass deepened, and the groove heightened with ‘Deadcrush’ and ‘Dissolve Me’, big brass sounds and la-la-la refrains for ‘In Cold Blood’ and through to sing-along fave ‘Matilda’. The band covered material from three albums finishing the main set with big radio winners ‘Gospel of John Hurt’, ‘Hunger of the Pine’ and fun, bizarre, complex, slightly stalker-ish ‘Every Other Freckle’. The crowd, fully involved and loving it, begged for more and the band reappeared with their monumentally sexy ‘Fitzpleasure’ – all disco lit, throbbing bass and innuendo, ‘Left Hand Free’ and finishing with the powerhouse ‘Breezeblocks’. alt-j are consummate musicians and their music, while challenging at times, is eminently enjoyable. The buzz at the venue was palpable and the punters left with their stars aligned.

IMAGES (c) NJA Photography

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