Concerts Concerts Alt-J and Lord Huron at Echo Beach

Alt-J and Lord Huron at Echo Beach

Alt-J at Echo Beach
Alt-J
Lord Huron
Echo Beach in Toronto, ON
September 11, 2013

Review by: Laura Eley
Photos by: Matt Klopot

For the few of us removed from the Mac world, the keyboard combination "alt-J" produces little more than a blinking cursor and befuddlement, but for the Leeds band (and obvious Apple men) Alt-J, or should I say ∆, the delta symbol has become synonymous with sweeping, intricate beats that can vibrate the roof on every car in a thirty-foot radius.

Alt-J

 Last Wednesday night at Toronto's Echo Beach amphitheatre set the stage for both Alt-J and openers Lord Huron to rock-out in the impending rain storm. The open-stage setup worked well in creating a festival atmosphere in the heart of the city - something that Alt-J are no strangers to. Having already played the Coachella, Sasquatch, and Glastonbury music fests this year (among many others), it seems that 2013 has been quite a year for these four lads. 

As they launched into their first song, with the fog machines a-rollin', it became obvious why they are drawing such widespread attention. Front man and lead vocalist Joe Newman has a striking sound that feels like it should be synthesized through Lil Wayne-type processes, but isn't. It's shrill, eccentric and psychedelic, a solid complement to the band's instrumentals, and song upon song of hooking chords and mysterious lyrics are whipped into significance. The crowd drank them all in like triple distilled liqueur, and while some dancing and sways could be seen, most paid attention and seemed to reflect (both with and without singing).

Lightning streaked the sky only minutes after Newman announced that the band had beat the predicted thunderstorm (a possible jinxing), and as the clouds and thunder grew nearer, they leant electricity to the crowd's energy. During "Matilda", a particularly fierce bolt lit the sky in perfect unison after the song's first line, and the crowd went wild. A beautiful mixture of sound and light that is unlikely to be re-created.

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Lord Huron

Stepping onstage before Alt-J, Lord Huron was both fun and promising as an emerging indie-folk band from Los Angeles. Combining cheerful tribal beats with a synthesizer, this five-piece band at times felt like (bear with me) a folk, spaghetti-western version of The Lion King, which to clarify is a really neat thing. A wise pairing with Alt-J, both groups offer stand-alone sounds that are worthwhile checking out live.

Info: Lord Huron
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