There were a bunch of huge shows going on last night including (but not limited to) a sold out Craig Finn show at The Triple Rock, a sold out Trombone Shorty show at the Palace and Alt-J at Roy Wilkins. I found myself at Roy Wilkins and, although I was curious as to what was going on at the other shows, I was more than happy to be where I was.
I was surprised when I took my seat and realized the giant light boxes adorned with the words “Bishop Briggs”.
Note from our Editor: Unfortunately her publicist insisted on approving any images before being allowed to publish. That censorship infringes on the freedom of the press (we don’t have delusions of grandeur, we are not the NY Times or the Star Tribune, but the principle matters to us), so we declined to cover her. End of Rant
During the stage changeover for Alt-J, the road crew moved platforms with the trio’s instruments onto the stage after moving Bishop Briggs’ gear to the side. The back of the stage was lined with giant screens placed perfectly behind the three platforms set towards the center of the stage. I watch impatiently as the crew worked and moved things from the side and back of the stage to the center. I was wondering what was happening at all of the other shows going on. I switched from staring at my phone to staring at the stage when the crew pulled out these giant spike looking things that they placed between each of the members’ spots. Okay, I was intrigued. What the hell was this? It almost looked as if each member would be stuck in a cage. As the break dragged on, my curiosity switched back to impatience. That’s when the lights went down and everything came to light… literally.
The English trio took the stage to a roar of applause from the packed crowd and wasted no time jumping into what would turn into a lengthy, nearly 20 song set. Within the first note, the stage was illuminated by the cage like spikes that separated each musician. It all made sense and I instantly felt bad for my impatience during the turnover. The light show was brilliant. When you took the giant screens lining the back of the stage and mixed them with the lights between the members and the lights that shined from underneath the members on each of their platforms you were left with a truly trippy and impressive display. For any other band, this would have been a huge distraction and the band would sure loose some brownie points from me because, being the pessimist I am, I would have chalked the epic light show to the band trying to distract the crowd but that was not the case on Friday night. The perfect timing of the lights made everything fit perfectly and, even though my eyes were stuck firmly on the lights, there was no ignoring the beautiful indie-pop sounds that matched up with it.
Alt-J’s music may be your typical indie-pop sound but singer/guitarist Joe Newman’s voice and the creativity of this group puts them on a completely different playing field. Since the band’s debut album “An Awesome Wave” was released in 2012, they have been making waves. They bridge the gap between mainstream indie-pop and what indie-pop should be flawlessly. Even though they have gained a sense of fame that indie-pop bands only dream of, Alt-J has never forgotten their roots and still stay true to them. They aren’t afraid to put out music that, at times, sounds a bit like a Gregorian chant. At the same time, they aren’t afraid to put out a dancey number that makes you want to grab a friend and dance like a fool. When you see them play live, they mix all of these things and produce a truly exciting live show. It leaves you wanting to see what’s going to come next because it’s always so unpredictable.
The members of Alt-J seemed to be very soft-spoken and rarely addressed the crowd but, when they did, they politely thanked them for all of the support. Here’s an example of a band that truly wouldn’t be where they are without all of the people who have supported them through the years and it was refreshing to see them acknowledge that. So far in their short five year career, they have released three full length albums including “Relaxer” which just came out earlier this year. There is clearly no end in sight for the powerhouse of a band and I can’t wait to watch them continue to grow.
So maybe I’ll never know what happened at The Craig Finn show at The Triple Rock. I’m currently listening to Trombone Shorty wondering what that show could have been like and feeling a sense of jealousy for anyone who made it to that one. I only hope that the next time they listen to Alt-J they have the same thoughts and I can tell them, “Well, you missed out on a hell of a show!”.