As a fan of Alt-J, even I was caught off guard when they announced that they were playing Madison Square Garden. They only just released their debut album An Awesome Wave three years ago. But with the release of their sophomore album This Is All Yous last year, the Leeds-based group have only gotten bigger and bigger with each passing moment. It took some of today’s prolific acts such as Arctic Monkeys nearly double that amount time to finally grace the stage of the world’s most famous arena, so many people doubted that Alt-J were ready for these huge leap into the big time. Last night they proved all the doubters wrong as they not only sold out The Garden, but they put on a bold and confident performance that filled out the large space with ease.
The night was started with a set from Phantogram, the New York duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter. Their career arc isn’t too different from Alt-J, starting from humble beginnings (Barsuk Records), and now one of the more popular acts in the game (they’re now on Republic Records). They got the show started with a energetic set that saw many of their own fans in the crowd, just as eager to see them as Alt-J. No surprise, as Phantogram always deliver a thunderous live performance led by Barhel’s mesmerizing vocals and a electronic-rock hybrid sound that hits like a hammer. This was my first time seeing them since their set at Governors Ball three years ago, so I’d say I’m long overdue to catch a proper Phantogram show of their own someday.
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