Photos: Alt-J, Lord Huron at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver - Reverb

Alt-J, Lord Huron at the Fillmore Auditorium, 9-5-13 (photos, video, review)

British rock band Alt-J filled the Fillmore Auditorium with its perverse beats, intense harmonies and shifting vocals on Thursday night. The group’s 2012 release “An Awesome Wave” remains a pillar among recent albums, a landmark debut of a new voice that gained enough local momentum to sell out the Fillmore a week before the show.

With one record, they didn’t have a ton of material to play. So they made what they had count. “Fitzpleasure” came early with its a cappella intro and altered percussion. As soon as the track’s loud-quit-loud synths and guitars kicked in, the floor of the Fillmore erupted into a dance party.

That song’s ever-changing dynamic says much about Alt-J’s appeal. Not only are Alt-J’s vocals psych-trippy one minute and Dylanesque another but they also write songs that start out sounding Gregorian before they shift into industrial territory — and then a quiet interlude, and then some straightforward rock ‘n’ roll, and then a strong, unclassifiable, bombastic finish.

Listen to the many movements of “Tessellate” and imagine hearing the uniquely structured song in a live environment. Piano intro. Mellow vocal introduction. Seductive, almost whispered bridge into the chorus. Yearning, slowed-down breakdown.

It’s beautiful, especially when heard live, where Alt-J thrives.

Even though “Matilda” was the night’s biggest singalong, it’s one of the band’s lesser songs. Fittingly they saved “Breezeblocks” for the encore, and the side-winding song provided a proper goodbye for the night — especially at the song’s end when 3,600 people were singing/shouting along with the “please don’t go/please don’t go/I love you so/I love you so.”

Indie folkers Lord Huron opened the show with a perfectly likable set of songs that were more exciting than 2012’s very pretty “Lonesome Dreams.” The band’s more upbeat songs won over (and warmed up) the early crowd at the Fillmore. The group saved “Time to Run” for later in the set, and it was a lovely moment seeing the band — which recently played the Denver Post’s UMS — managing the crowd with such expertise.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and editor at The Denver Post.

Lisa Higginbotham is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.

  • trizzle

    Can we talk about how scorching hot it was in there? Turn on the AC LN.

  • Ann

    Hey guys…Lord Huron’s set was from the album Lonesome Dreams! The band just sounds that much more awesome live.

    There were only two not from Lonesome Dreams – the Stranger and We Went Wild, which were released on two EPs prior to Lonesome Dreams coming out.

  • djjumani675

    “What are you talking about? They did play the album Lonesome Dreams! How can you critique a band when you clearly haven’t even listened to their music”?