“This is All Yours” – The alt-J Live in Manila Experience


The Manila leg of alt-J’s “This is all Yours” tour, named after their latest album.


I personally think the defining quality of a great band is being able to sound much better live than on record. In my own little gig inventory, few bands have delivered, save for alt-J’s recently concluded Manila set which I will, without question, have to include in my list. The British indie-rock quartet has gone above and well beyond everyone’s expectations during their first Manila performance, breathing new life to their already distinct brand of music. (Photos by Cecilia Forbes)


Type alt-J on any Mac keyboard and ∆ will come out (/Triangles are my favourite shape…/)


Mad props to drummer Thom Green who totally slayed it that night!


alt-J’s  short but sweet 2-hour solo set was a comprehensive study on their musicality and undeniable talent. Their songs “Hunger of the Pine,” “Something Good,” “Leaving Nara,” and “Every Other Freckle” were given new depth and dimension as each element of the composition – from the vocals to the percussion to the synthesizers – was precise and discernible. Not a beat amiss, not a chord out of tune, it was exciting to witness all these individual aspects coming together to form an amalgam of great music.


 Gus Unger-Hamilton on keyboards

W26A7911 Joe Newman on vocals and guitar


It is this similar quality that has helped me appreciate more songs from their “An Awesome Wave” and “All This is Yours” albums – a unified combination of indie-rock, folk, acapella, and electronic, happening live, in real time. Even more amazing was the goose bumps-inducing vocal harmonies rendered by vocalist Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton on keyboards; if you thought they sound great on their tracks “Interlude I” and “Breezeblocks,” you’ll be blown away when you hear them live, it was absolutely hypnotic! 


Perfectly foiling alt-J’s performance was the sickest light show accompanying it, perfectly set to each song’s beat and pause (the lights accompanying their song “Dissolve Me” was especially enjoyable.) Add to that the cozy and intimate vibe of Solaire Resort’s The Theatre and we had ourselves one of our most memorable indie gigs. The Theatre couldn’t have been a more apt venue for the event. The confined hall was the perfect setting for the small gathering, drawing one’s attention not to the crowds or the noise, but to the visual and auditory spectacle before them.

Thank you for making it worth our while, alt-J. We were overcome with a wave of awesomeness. If you have Spotify (which you probably do) you can check out alt-J’s Manila set list here.

Special thanks to Stephanie Uy and Karpos Multimedia.


Related Stories