Live Review: alt-J / Just Mustard – Collins Barracks The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin 25.08.2022

Words: Max Falvey // Pictures: Ian Mc Donnell

After selling out Dublin’s 3Olympia Theatre twice at the beginning of the summer, the quirky and ever-mesmerising Alt-J promptly returned to fair city last night to kick off the first ever Wider Than Pictures concert series at Collins Barracks. For an all seated show in a venue rich with history, they performed just a beautiful spectacle which will be hard to top, and celebrated the classics 10 years on from their debut album, ‘An Awesome Wave’.

Support on the night came from one of my absolute favourites, Dundalk’s own Just Mustard. A brilliant choice of opening act in my opinion, as the vibe and mood of their music is the polar opposite of Alt-J’s, it’s brooding, rough, but not straying too far from the same genre. They instantly set the tone by opening with the beautifully harsh ‘Seven’, flooding the venue with a wave of noise that hit the audience like a train. Later in the set, they played ‘October’, the b-side to their debut single ‘Frank’, and just blew me away. They really have revolutionised shoegaze, and this song encapsulates that, it was my absolute favourite. Mete Kalyoncuoglu’s guitar roared like a velociraptor through the entire set, whilst vocalist Kate Ball sang beautifully over her band’s menacing tone. Their 9 song set ended with the monstrous ‘Seed’, the wildest most in-your-face closing song ever – I adored it. It was a perfect start to the night

Alt-J entered the stage and took to their now classic live setup of each having their own platform. The trio from Leeds opened with the Coca-Cola obsessed ‘Bane’ from their latest album, 2022’s ‘The Dream’, and quickly transitioned into the phenomenal ‘The Actor’. Lead singer Joe Newman’s guitar skills never fail to impress, and it was nice to see him lend vocal duties to the crowd during the choruses of ‘Matilda’. The band themselves really seemed to be enjoying themselves during the show, with the uber-enthusiastic crowd going crazy for the entire show. 

It’s well known that Alt-J’s light show is one of the best around in live music, how it blends with and even adds to their music is such a beautiful thing to witness. But particularly with this venue, performing within a squared courtyard enlightened the light show exponentially, as their multicoloured lights bounced off the surrounding National Museum of Ireland’s historic buildings and was just beautiful – the outdoor environment really suited Alt-J’s production and as a result, I enjoyed this show even more than their 3Olympia show last May. And the music didn’t stop, as the ever-rising guitar in ‘Chicago’ was so good that one of the security guards even took off his sound-proof headphones and was bopping his head to the beat.
As the show was nearing its end, bassist Gus Unger-Hamilton spoke about the 10th anniversary of ‘An Awesome Wave’ and said that the band were going to close out the main part of the show with 3 songs from their iconic first record – and that they did, performing ‘Taro’, ‘Dissolve Me’ and ‘Fitzpleasure’. After a very brief encore with the curfew closing in, they ended the show in typical ‘The Dream’ tour fashion, with ‘Left Hand Free’, ‘Hard Drive Gold’ and the unforgettable, fan-favourite ‘Breezeblocks’. Although the show didn’t have many surprises, the scale and beauty of the venue, along with a killer support act, made this a brilliant end of summer show, and because they seem to love the place, I can’t see another Dublin show for Alt-J being too far in the future. Thank you for reading.

Previous News: Nothing Nowhere Shares New Single and tour dates.
Next Album Review: Excuses Excuses - Listen Up

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.