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