02 March, 2015

Gig Review… Gengahr, Wolf Alice & Alt-J @ Zenith, Munich, 18th Feburary 2015

Some gigs are good. Others may even be excellent. And then there's the spectacle that is Alt-J live: more theatre than concert. Perfect interaction of music and lights leading to an evening which has a rather spiritual feel to it.
Gengahr kicked off the evening with their laid-back indie pop sound, providing a peaceful start to an evening, which would soon be livened up by the incredible Wolf Alice. The London band get better every time we see them. From strength to strength. Their show in Munich just underlined what a good live band they are, getting a hesitant crowd dancing and singing away. They began their highly energetic set with "Moaning Lisa Smile". The highlight of their gig was the performance of "Bros" which saw them win over (nearly) everyone at Munich's massive Zenith; it was closely followed by the performance of their new song "Giant Peach".
Up next were a band which had catapulted themselves from indie-secret tip to a Madison Square Garden-playing band: Alt-J.

A photo posted by Benjamin Brown (@themrbrown) on
The band from Leeds, who had previously performed in Munich as a support act for Two Door Cinema Club in 2012, entered a stage resembling a fire alarm: red, flashing lights accompanied by a rather unnerving sound - the beginning of "Hunger Of The Pine". "It felt mysterious and dark. Strangely similar to what the alarm inside a space ship must feel like", Sascha, an Alt-J fan, told us. Our first impressions of Alt-J's extremely impressive light show were soon to be overshadowed by the colours and "light choreographies" that followed. The band managed to please the entire crowd by playing a mix of songs both from their Mercury Prize-winning debut "An Awesome Wave" and their 2014 follow-up "This Is All Yours". Alt-J showcased their top-class vocal skills with their stunning performance of "Interlude I (The Ripe & Ruin)" - the song, consisting purely of vocals, got the whole venue to quieten down.
Although "Dissolve Me" had come close, it was "Taro" which got the whole crowd moving for the first time. Whether Alt-J's fans were touched by the incredible story of Robert Capa's death and subsequent reunion with his lover and colleague Gerda Taro or pushed to dance by the Indian-style elements of the song - the result was there: a whole venue moving.
After leaving the stage Alt-J returned to play an encore which ended in the most energetic song of the evening: "Breezeblocks". Energetic isn't quite fitting with Alt-J, however. The crowd went mad at the song, yet strangely not a single drop of sweat was poured. "This gig was special - after the show my blood was rushing through my veins slower rather than faster. The show was more than just musicians playing their songs, it was a mix of fascinating sounds and spectacular light effects.", was how Sascha summarised the set. Truly fitting.

Alt-J played:

Hunger of the Pine 
Something Good 
Left Hand Free 
Dissolve Me 
Bloodflood Pt. 2 
Interlude I (The Ripe & Ruin)
Every Other Freckle 
Warm Foothills 
The Gospel of John Hurt 
Lovely Day (Bill Withers cover)
Leaving Nara 

Benjamin Brown