Live Music: Alt-J, Mikky Ekko at Kool Haus, Toronto


After last night at the Kool Haus, it is not surprising that ALT-J’s current tour schedule is dominated by sold out shows. From start to finish, ALT-J’s balanced set between their Mercury prize-winning An Awesome Wave and most recent album I’m All Yours delivered a piercing and electrical display.

The crowd was instantaneously swept away by the band’s first song, ‘Hunger of The Pine’ as Miley Cyrus’s sample, “I’m a female rebel”, purred through the dark room and the band members’ shadows swayed in and out of the blood red light. The live experience that the crowd received on Tuesday night is incomparable to the one felt when listening to the record. Alt-J immersed us into their layers upon layers of synced melodies, intricate drum patterns, and unconventional synth sounds. They are master manipulators of the emotions felt throughout the set. For every intense and chilling song such as ‘Fitzpleasure’ or ‘Every Other Freckle’, songs like “Taro”, and “Matilda” were played afterwards to counteract with more wistful sensations.

Their live show was paired with an impressive light show and abundance of stage smoke, which heightened the dramatics found in songs such as ‘Fitzpleasure’ that has intimidatingly chilling undertones. Despite having a backdrop of chaotic laser beams, the band members oozed a calm and collected energy and maintained effortlessly cool during their extensive set list of seventeen songs. After coming back onstage for their encore, Alt-J played a deconstructed version of Bill Withers’s ‘Lovely Day’, the chilling ‘Nara’, ‘Leaving Nara’, and their biggest single to date, Breezeblocks’. With the crowd singing along in full force to, “Please don’t go, I love you so, I love you so,” the ending lyrics seemed almost too true to the emotion felt by everyone at Kool Haus as the band bowed off stage.

Flip through some of our photos below including opener Mikky Ekko.








Mikky Ekko

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Photos by Stephen McGill