Prefering a lower-case identity, alt-j — or ∆ — has garnered a pretty high profile in a short span of time. The quartet of friends from Leeds University has already released a critically praised, haunting debut, An Awesome Wave, in the UK and the album finally comes out in the States on September 18 via Canvasback.
The group is playing a sold-show tonight at New York's Mercury Lounge, and tomorrow, August 7, at Brooklyn's Glasslands and in preparation for that, The Alternate Side asked the band — guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury, guitarist/vocalist Joe Newman, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton and drummer Thom Green — if they'd blog about their adventures through Japan, Spain and Portugal earlier this month.
Shut out of both shows? The band will be back to play Bowery Ballroom on September 12:
alt-j Tour Diary:
The festival we played in Spain spanned two islands off the coast of Galicia: Illa de San Simón y de San Antonio. This photo was taken by Jack, our touring tech, on the bridge connecting the two islands on the first night we arrived. As a place, it was more idyllic than anywhere we'd ever been, let alone played. The festival has a cool quirk, in that the 500 people who attend don't know the lineup until they arrive by small ferry. — Gus
We arrived at the pier after a pretty long but mesmerising drive from Portugal. We could see the island — tiny — immediately wondering how we're getting over there. Turned out to be a free for all on this boat shaped assembly of wood. I got bollocked for lifting a melon over my head, then took this picture. — Thom
I'm not into swimming that much but Joe is. Really. Which was a shame because the one time he decides not to we spot Russell Crowe doing some paddling. — Thom
Playing at Sinsal San Simón was such a relaxing experience, which isn't often the case. The whole festival had a really chilled out vibe, the weather was beautiful, and playing two nights in a row meant we could be more relaxed on stage too. We did a lot of just walking around the two small islands the festival takes place on, and this great sunset was on our final night there. Although we knew our next stop was Japan, it was hard to leave. — Gus
We arrived in Japan after Spain, one paradise to another. Never been to Japan, also never been to a city sized sauna which was cool. It was at least 4,000 degrees. Massively fun time at Fuji Rock despite the heat, amazingly kind people we came across. — Thom
The first thing we noticed walking into our hotel lobby arriving at Fuji Rock Festival was that Justice were standing in the lobby. I and Gwil managed to swerve their entourage (which included Busy P, AKA Pedro Winter, head of Ed Banger Records) to get a photo with them. Despite appearing very tour-haggard, they were totally cool. A moment to remember. The festival was awesome - finding out we actually have fans in Japan is an amazing feeling. — Gus
Our second night in Japan was spent in Tokyo. It was the first time there for all of us, and it's a place pretty much unlike any other. Our interpreter Britney took us out, first to a restaurant. Luckily, it had bolognese on the menu, allowing Thom to continue on his mission to eat it all over the world. So far he's managed LA, London, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Portugal, and now Japan. It was Sunday night in Tokyo meaning our night out was slightly abortive, but it was still incredible to be able to walk around and see the place. — Gus
We went out on the Sunday night in Tokyo. Really blows me away sometimes how lucky we are to experience so many different things like this. I'm pinching myself all the way. — Thom