Alt-J at Bayou Music Center, 9/26/2013

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Photos by Jim Bricker
Alt-J
Bayou Music Center
September 26, 2013

The fall music season is in full swing, and Bayou Music Center was alive and kicking with a sold-out crowd of young adults for a showcase of talents by the likes of English indie-rockers Alt-J, with their folkier friends Lord Huron as support.

Alt-J have significantly grown in size in such a short period of time, that it somewhat mesmerizes me there were so many people there. Just a year ago, they were playing to tiny crowds and were relatively unknown. Thanks to their album, An Awesome Wave, which won the coveted British music award The Mercury Prize, they've seen a rise in their popularity spike like Apple's stock on iPhone release day.

This was my third time seeing the Brits, but the first time catching a full, non-festival set. Last year, they played for a crowd of about 100 at Austin City Limits.True, it was at 11:30 a.m. on the event's final day, but I still figured on a bigger crowd. Next time they were on a stage in front of me was at this spring's SXSW and a packed parking lot at Waterloo records. Just the six-month window between those two Austin events saw an increase in fanbase tenfold.

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But that is the musical world we now live in -- the singles world. Where people regard one song so highly that it makes a band huge, only to throw them away when the next catchy tune comes along. Many of the current hitmakers deserve to be thrown away (I'm looking at you, Imagine Dragons), but what's different about Alt-J is that they make really good, non-disposable music.

While I'm still yet to hear any Alt-J on the radio, which is bound to happen soon, the crowd that gathered at BMC were certainly there to hear that one song. You know the one: it goes "Please don't go, please don't go, I love you so, I love you so." Thankfully, they played it last, and to those of you that were there to hear that song, it's called "Breezeblocks," and it's about a cinder block. Well, not really, but to most who were in attendance, it might as well have been.

Do they send a mixtape with current indie hits out to colleges? Like specifically to fraternities and sororities? Is Alt-J what they're really listening too when they need a break between Drake and the Lumineers? I'm just so confused by one: the fact that the show was sold out. And two: who was in attendance. The reason I live in Houston is for its incredible diversity. Where was that diversity Thursday night?

It makes it really hard for a fan of the band to enjoy the show when people are shouting over the music to their friends about how much they love alcohol. I'm surprised there wasn't a flip-cup and beer-pong tournament posted up in the back of the venue. I just can't wait until Alt-J take the plunge in popularity next year a la Peter, Bjorn & John, MGMT, Foster the People, et al.

Soon enough, they'll be back at Fitz again, where they belong and you can actually enjoy their music without the talkative folks only there to pre-game before hitting Midtown, somewhere the venue's cavernous soundscape doesn't eat up your pristine harmonies and melodies.


Review continues on the next page.

Location Info

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Bayou Music Center

520 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Music


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9 comments
RoosterMcGee
RoosterMcGee

This guy writes reviews on music?  Never listened to Lord Huron?  Hey FP, give me a shout if you want a writer with actual music sense.  BTW, why do you need to hear something on the radio for it to be relevent?  Isnt your job to find "good" music?

gooby
gooby

These two bands are frequently on satellite radio if you were wondering where people were hearing their music. Lord Huron comes off as a little pretentious but their album is a very enjoyable listen. I hope they come back and headline a show at Fitz.

delta
delta

How about a little less Jim and a little more Alt-J? I'm reading a review of a movie in a major daily publication (not the Chron) and the critic use the word I once. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count your usage. Yeah Houstonites pay good money to talk to each other and have a band play background music, get over it. Up front there was not so much talking and more bobbing. To wish that they'd play smaller rooms is asinine, just shows what a condescending hipster wanna be you are. Besides I've found the smaller the room the louder the crowd noise.  If I wanted to hear your tweets, I'd follow you. Anyway the three sentences you devoted to the music were OK, although I don't hear the MMJ influence. As for Lord Huron about the only original Idea they had was clanging bells on the song intros, other than that they aped the bands you mentioned although your left out The National. Next time we see them will be in a Mens Wearhouse ad. Next time for Alt-J contrary to your wishes will be a bigger place and you'll wish they were back at BMC. 

laurenpcummings
laurenpcummings

I agree with you 100% about the crowd. The bros (and their broads) behind me wouldn't shut their trap. Oh, and that one article about the 10 worst people at a concert? Freebird guy was directly behind me. Don't worry, he WAS called out. But still, a great performance by Alt-J.

albertgator
albertgator

@delta "Yeah Houstonites pay good money to talk to each other and have a band play background music, get over it. "

What in...is this some sort of opinion? That people have? Jim, please don't ever "get over" this. It's obnoxious, it has ruined many shows I've been to, and I want to always have music reviewers who hate it as much as I do.

I also don't understand the idea that having an anonymous reviewer is somehow preferable. Music is personal, responses to and experiences of music are personal, and I for one think that having reviewers who only speak to their own personal experience of the show instead of pretending that they had a canonical one is great.

delta
delta

@albertgator @delta 

But whining about the crowd talking in every review gets old. I've told people to STFU numerous times myself. Some times it works sometimes not. But I've come to accept that it's going to happen. The reviewers should mention when crowds are respectful. I also think that all the reviewers comments have a negative effect as sensitive, respectful souls (such as ourselves) would tend to stay away, increasing the concentration of talkers. 

I didn't say anonymous reviewer, there was just too much Jim in this review. Compare this with the excellent Imagine Dragons review from tomorrow. You get the feel for the reviewer but it's about the band and the show not the reviewer. 


albertgator
albertgator

@delta if anything, an emphasis on how unacceptable and distracting their behavior is helps make me feel justified in asking people to be more respectful and tuned-in. 

Anyway, it comes down to personal preference. This review reads like I imagine my thoughts would read if I'd been there, and I dig that.

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