So far, Chicago hasn’t provided me with a bad concert, or even just an average concert, really.  Day three of Lollapalooza blew me away and Corey Smith filled up Joe’s on Weed as he proceeded to wow current fans and win over new ones.  My sites were set high for this past Monday’s performances as well.

Both alt-J and Lord Huron are relative new comers to mainstream music listeners but music appreciators have been high on these guys for quite some time now.  I very distinctly remember the first time I heard both of these bands.  Lord Huron’s debut full-length album Lonesome Dreams was given to me by a friend and it circulated through my headphones on my afternoon runs for months.  As for alt-J, 89.3 The Current spun “Breezeblocks” on the radio on my drive home from work one day and I was immediately intrigued by Joe Newman’s unique tones.

The pairing of these two acts for a single show just seemed right.  Their unique styles stand out among other acts currently on the radio.  alt-J really has no two songs that sound the same and manage to throw interludes into their album without disrupting the flow of the work.  Lord Huron fits more into the folk sound that’s been finding a niche on the Billboard charts, a wave lead by Mumford and Sons, but the LA five piece mixes in an indie rock sound to make it their own.  On to the show…

Before I say anything about the bands, I just want to note that the forecast for the show was hot and humid with a 100% of sweating your ass off.  I don’t know if the Aragon Entertainment Center is always this hot or if the A/C broke.  Either way, if the music wasn’t their to keep everyone distracted, fans would have been racing towards the doors.  So, Aragon, if you’re out their reading this, figure out the climate control situation and get back to me.

Lord Huron’s opening set was everything I wanted and more.  Their dimly lit stage provided an inquisitive aura throughout the crowd, especially for those concert goers who may have not been familiar with the guys before the show.  As the lights brightened and the jams lengthened, everybody began to dance.  It should be noted that a band who can get an entire crowd to dance simultaneously is a band that’s going places.  Through their set they played most of the tracks from Lonesome Dreams and really brought the crowd to life. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for a large scale Lord Huron headlining tour in the near future because it would be great to see these guys work their magic throughout an entire extended set.

Admittedly, I went to the show more to see Lord Huron rather than alt-J.  Not necessarily because I had a preference for one band’s music over the other, but rather because of the style of music.  Based on their album, I expected the British rockers to be more of a low key show.  I couldn’t have been anymore wrong.  They masterfully worked in a majority of their released tunes in a manner that, at times, made me begin to dance in an uncontrollable manner.  It was infectious.  The coordination between the stage lighting and the music was spot on throughout the night and the energy of the entire group radiated into the crowd.

This is the group’s fourth show in Chicago in the past year and the city is clearly not getting sick of them.  When an entire sold out crowd screams for and sings along with an album interlude (“Interlude 1” to be specific), as a band, you have to know that you’re welcome back with open arms anytime.  Other highlights were “Tesselate” and it’s hard hitting bass vibrations and the guys treating us to a performance of “Matilda”, which was clearly a crowd favorite.

There’s not going to be a lot of time to see either of these two bands in smaller venues before they start hitting venues with 5,000+ person capacities.  With the anticipation sky high for sophomore releases from both these artists, it won’t be long before they’re headlining festivals and making arena appearances the norm.