English indie rockers Alt-J made their way to Madison Square Garden on Monday, April 11 as part of The Dream tour. The show is Alt-J’s first New York show in four years since the band’s performance at the 2018 Mountain Jam Festival at Hunter Mountain. These shows come in support of their fourth studio album The Dream, released back in February on Infectious Records.
Support across the tour is coming from Alaskan indie veterans Portugal. The Man and this second leg of the run also features Cherry Glazerr. Portugal. The Man have been at it since 2005 and are gearing up to release their ninth studio LP. The as-of-yet untitled album features the lead single, “What, Me Worry?” and is out this June. As they always do, Portugal. The Man opened the show by inviting members from indigenous people groups that represent the land they are playing on. After this intorduction, the band kicked off their set with a thrash metal medley of Metallica, Pantera, and Slayer before playing one of their own songs. PTM typically plays their live sets as giant medleys, showcasing a really cool moment when the played “Another Brick In The Wall (pt. 2)” into their classic hit “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.”
It has been a quiet 5-years since Alt-J put out their last album, 2017s Relaxer. The band came out of hiding late last year with the announcement of The Dream along with lead single “U&ME.” The song starts off with a wandering guitar and vocal melody, dreaming of summer nostalgia and hot dogs off the grill. The song picks up the pace halfway through and crescendos into a psychedelic summer ballad. On Monday night, Alt-J also played the highly experimental The Dream songs “Chicago” and “Philadelphia.” Alt-J’s stage set-up for this tour is quite remarkable. The three band members are on elevated platforms, surrounded by a semi-transparent screen that they project visuals onto, completely immersing the band into the visual presentation.
With only four LPs, the band played many songs from each of their releases but weaved them together in such a compelling way that they could have been playing a complete album in full. Alt-J have been incredibly consistent over the years, and created quite a unique sound in the oversaturated indie rock scene. As a trio from the start, Alt-J never try to make their music too dense with many layers. Instead, the three members allow the instruments they are playing to shine through as clear as possible while moving in and out of subtle movements within their songs. They are uniquely able to create the illusion of a five-piece band without adding too much at any given point.
The US leg of the tour is nearing the end, with three more shows in Boston, Montreal, and Toronto. The band then heads over to the UK for a run of shows in May and then a larger European run in Novemeber. Head over the the band’s website for more info and check out our full photo gallery of Alt-J at Madison Square Garden below.