Alt-J performing their The Dream Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Thursday 12th May 2022

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

English indie rock band Alt-J came to Rock City on Thursday night as part of their current tour to support their latest studio album, The Dream.

Their usual effects had to be curtailed because of the physical limitations of the stage but the lighting and colours that they were able to use made the whole set come alive, even though it meant that often lead vocalist and guitarist Joe Newman, drummer Thom Sonny Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton on keys appeared like mysterious silhouettes.

But as soon as the vocals from new song Bane rang around Rock City, there was no doubting who they were. Formed in 2007 when they met at Leeds University, the trio finally settled upon a name which was created from the Alt + J key sequence on a computer, and with four studio albums in the bag, they haven’t looked back.

With burning candles being projected onto the stage for the opener, as they moved into Every Other Freckle the candles were extinguished, to be replaced by spotlights. They blended new songs such as U&ME, Chicago and Philadelphia with their earlier works, In Cold Blood, Nara, and Bloodflood.

With Unger-Hamilton and Newman’s exquisite vocal harmonising being every bit as synchronised and impressive as their shimmering light show, they showcased the gorgeous Tessellate. For Matilda the crowd were asked to sing along to the somber melody and they duly obliged, and for Something Good, the lights placed evenly between the trio twinkled in time as they swept the crowd into an entrancing set of live music.

They finished their main set with Taro, Dissolve Me and Fitzpleasure from their debut album, the Mercury winning An Awesome Wave, before the encore which included Left Hand Free which had the crowd singing along, and Hard Drive Gold and set finisher, the song that had set them on their journey, Breezeblocks, which had Newman joined by a thunderous cacophony of yelling and cheering.