By Gabby Redding | March 21, 2023
When Alt-J put out their album, An Awesome Wave, 10 years ago, they were unsure how American audiences would react to their experimental psychedelic rock sound. But, fast forward a decade, and they are doing a tour celebrating the anniversary of the same album, commencing with two sold out nights at the legendary Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.
Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton, and Thom Sonny Green were backlit by an ongoing light show, contrasting with the French Renaissance interiors of the theater. Beginning with An Awesome Wave in full, the crowd sang along to enduring hits like “Tessellate,” “Fitzpleasure,” and “Breezeblocks.” Newman led the theater through an emotional sing along to “Matilda,” where fans hung onto the lyrics–and onto each other–as they harmonized with the band. Alt-J then integrated newer music, including “U&ME” and “Hard Drive Gold” from their latest album, The Dream, released in 2022.
The Dream has been hailed as their most vulnerable album yet, exploring themes of loss and pain, with references both to the current day and its parallels to childhood uncertainty. This ability to match mature and complex lyricism with kaleidoscopic melodies is not new for Alt-J, but it has been honed since their first album, allowing songs such as ‘U&ME’ to become instant classics in their catalog.
They ended with “Left Hand Free,” which has remained popular since its 2014 release on This is All Yours, with a resurgence during its use during Captain America: Civil War and in the premiere episodes of each season of Outer Banks. If the parallels and seamless blending between An Awesome Wave and subsequent albums leading into The Dream are any indication, Alt-J can endure further meteoric rise and more pop-culture references without losing their original, experimental, and authentic sound that endeared them to audiences at the start.
📸: shot by Gian Marco Flamini