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ALT J - Humphreys Concerts By The Bay

ALT J - Humphreys Concerts By The Bay

 On an otherwise ordinary Thursday breezy San Diego April night, Alt j brought the heat to Humphreys Concerts By The bay and mesmerized their fans delivering a set of pure dark magic.


I have to admit that while I get to photograph some pretty amazing shows, there are not many bands that get me this excited.

I waited and waited for Alt J to come back to San Diego;  the last time I was lucky enough to catch them, it was back in 2014 at Soma.

They are currently touring in support of their third album Relaxer, a 39-minute power punch album that further distances the band from all others. It is in many ways my favorite album of theirs. I love how flexible the band seems in this and how they deliver the unexpected in each song, creating a multi-faceted album that just keeps you digging for more. 

Joe Newman's vocals are the perfect delivery of their sensual and beautifully crypted verses, and his almost jazz-like slurred vocal style is even more intriguing live.

They opened their set with one of my favorite tunes from Relaxer, "Deadcrush," whose steady haunting beats pulled the audience in a trance-like manner. The set lights divided the stage into three parts, framing each of the member, further played along that fine balance of sensual darkness the band embodies so well.

Their ability to mix beauty and horror, so to speak, reaches culminating highs during their second song titled "Fitzpleasure," where the band manages to describe such a horrific gang rape scene and somehow deliver a beautiful and melodic tune that slowly rips your insights and haunts you for hours to come. (See Hubert Selby Jr - Last exit To Brooklyn)

My heart stopped during "In Cold Blood"- I love this song and yes, literally froze in the photo pit with my camera at hand, just in awe.

The strobe lights accented the blatant sexual beats of "Tesselate," translating in pure auditory orgasm that slowly progressed from the first explosive beat and reached culminating peaks with "Every Other Freckle," during which the entire audience could be heard singing along. 

Sexual energy turned back to a trance-like hypnotic chill with "Hunger Of The Pine" through "Bloodflood" and "Matilda" to then reenergize with "Dissolve Me," which served as a cleanser tune that led to "Pleader" and "Taro." The set ended on high notes with their mega hit "Left Hand Free".

Luckily the band came back with encores because I was not ready to end the night....

Three amazing encores, "Intro," "3WW," and "Breezeblocks," and it still wasn't enough. Don't get me wrong; they played a full set but when a band delivers such a great show, you just want to keep going. Hopefully I won't have to wait four years to catch them again and maybe next time they'll play " Hit Me Like That Snare" which I really wanted to hear live. There's something very Velvet Underground to that tune that just makes it a rare gem, in my opinion.


  • Arizona  
  • Deadcrush
  • Fitzpleasure
  • Something Good
  • Nara
  • The Gospel of John Hurt
  • In Cold Blood
  • ❦ (Ripe & Ruin)
  • Tessellate
  • Intro (This Is All Yours)
  • Every Other Freckle
  • Hunger of the Pine
  • Bloodflood
  • Matilda
  • Dissolve Me
  • Pleader
  • Taro
  • Left Hand Free


  • Intro (An Awesome Wave)
  • 3WW
  • Breezeblocks
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