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Alt-J tease anniversary shows to celebrate 10 years of ‘An Awesome Wave’

"The idea of playing it beginning to end ten years later is so poignant for a lot of our fans"

By Nick Reilly

Alt J perform live
Alt J perform live for Fender (Picture: Fender)

Alt-J have teased plans to celebrate the upcoming tenth anniversary of their debut album at a string of special live shows next year.

The band’s Mercury Prize winning debut ‘An Awesome Wave’ was released via Infectious Records in May 2012, and saw them achieve breakout success with tracks such as ‘Breezeblocks’, ‘Fitzpleasure’ and ‘Tessellate’.

And as the tenth anniversary looms next year, frontman Joe Newman says plans are already afoot to mark the milestone.

“I think we’re very aware that it’s the anniversary and I think we are in talks about doing something, although it hasn’t been announced just yet,” Newman told Rolling Stone UK.

While the specific details are yet to be announced, Newman confirmed that Alt J could play anniversary shows that would see them playing the record in its entirety.

“I think I subscribe to the idea that you give the audience what they want to hear. I’m certainly not the kind of musician who doesn’t want to play our biggest hit, even if it’s ten years old. That’s a formative people in so many people’s lives that first album, as it is for us, and I’m very proud of it,” he said.

“The idea of playing it beginning to end ten years later is so poignant for a lot of our fans, so I’d definitely do that.”

Newman added: “Theoretically, why wouldn’t we play something all the way through that we’re really proud of? It’s our first album and for our fans, looking back on it ten years later, it has a timelessness to it. To the wider world, no one knows the album, but for the people that listened to it and loved it – I’d love to do that, yeah.”

Talk of the anniversary shows comes as the group gears up to release their fourth album ‘The Dream’, which is set to arrive in February 2022.

Newman explained that the new record has a “vintage anchoring”, in part aided by them using an AC30 amplifier previously owned by Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour.

“Everything sounds dusty and the album has this 60s tremelo vibe to it. It has a dustiness and a vintage anchoring. I’ve become more confident with my voice too and there’s no affectations where there once was. I sang more nasally on first few albums, but now it’s more relaxed and refined. I can take advantage of my range more.”

Newman was speaking to Rolling Stone UK after alt-J made their return to the stage for a very special live performance at the Fender Artist Showroom in London – their first since 2018. The band performed a career-spanning set, all reworked for the new Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster guitar.

“It’s such a refined instrument and I didn’t realise quite how innovative it is, but it’s really responsive and clear. Clearly there’s a lot of wizardry that’s gone into this guitar. I was a bit dubious at first, but it’s such a comfortable and beautiful guitar to play,” he added.