Alt-J live at the Mission Ballroom on 11/29/2023

Alt-J – An Awesome Wave – 10th Anniversary Tour

Alt-J brought An Awesome Wave back to life for its 10-year anniversary tour, an extended celebration of their breakthrough album. With a stripped-down stage production similar to their second US tour supporting AAW, they jumped into the set at the Mission Ballroom with the same inward emotion and unbridled creativity that carved out a cult-like following for the masses early in their career, à la Radiohead and Porcupine Tree. Maybe the only disappointment of the night was the loud VIP section that was clearly there for the social points and booze, chattering through some of the more intimate moments of the album. As referenced by Gus’ heartfelt message to the crowd, the band is clearly appreciative of Denver for being early adopters of the critically acclaimed album.

A band that overcame the early departure of primary songwriter Gwil Sainsbury, the band marched on through a time that would cripple many early acts. Their performance filled out as if they were a three-piece all along, continuing to build on their original sound and unconventional path forward. 

After ripping through AAW, they continued the set with a jarring performance of “Chicago,” a song that brought audible gasps from many patrons not expecting the drilling bass and electronic feel. A perfect punch landed to launch out of the shadow of the Wave. In this set, I found more connection to their early tunes than I previously had experienced. With those songs now becoming staples, their sound has evolved while still capturing the core of who Alt-J is. That is, until the encore where they finished with the bizarre Hard Drive Gold and the intentionally pop anthem Left Hand Free; two songs they clearly love and I still fail to understand. For a band with incredible remixes, I thought we’d finally hear some of those renditions live, but they stick to their album versions, the script they’ve perfected.


Setlist A:

Intro (An Awesome Wave)

Interlude (Ripe & Ruin)



Interlude (Guitar)

Something Good

Dissolve Me




Interlude (Piano)




Setlist B:




The Gospel of John Hurt

Every Other Freckle

In Cold Blood


Hard Drive Gold

Left Hand Free


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