Mercury Prize winners Alt-J (∆) to play St Andrews

Photo: Mercury Prize
Photo: Mercury Prize

It was announced today that the Mercury Prize winning alternative-indie quartet Alt-J (∆) will play  a one off DJ set in Venue 1 on Wednesday 19th of December, the last day of exams.

Just when you thought there was no light at the end of this exam-filled lead up to Christmas, think again. The band from Cambridge will be painting our Union all kinds of psychedelic when they come to town fresh off their US tour.

They were nominated for the coveted annual Mercury Prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave and faced stiff competition from fellow indie-guitar acts such as Richard Hawley, The Maccabees,  Django Django, and Field Music.

The group took the £20,000 prize at the announcement ceremony earlier this month and join an esteemed club of past winners including the The xx, Portishead, Pulp, and The Arctic Monkeys.

The prize topped off a whirlwind year for the band who shot from relative obscurity to both critical and commercial acclaim nationwide. With barely any promotion, an early demo of the song ‘Breezeblocks’ reached 70,000 hits on their Soundcloud page within 6 months and their debut single ‘Tessellate/Bloodfood’ instantly sold out when released on Loud And Quiet last October.

The band’s unique style of ‘folk-step’ has made comparisons hard to come by. Nonetheless, critics have endeavoured and the results are favourable with the band being likened to indie-experimental stalwarts such as ‘In Rainbows’ era Radiohead, Wild Beasts, The xx, and Anthony & The Johnsons.

The outfit’s debut album An Awesome Wave was released earlier this year in May and has been described as ‘veering wildly from psychedelic avant pop to skeletal folktronica.’ Whatever that means, the album was a huge success and has propelled the band to a prominent status within the left-field UK indie music scene.

Pulling in an act of Alt-J (∆)’s calibre is a big catch for Director of Events and Services Jules Findlay. The SSC Music Officer Kirsty Strang says that “it’s incredibly positive to see the Union working hard to be on the pulse of the UK’s music scene.

“Bringing in acts like Alt-J (∆) shows that St Andrews doesn’t have to be a musical backwater, which has often been the challenge with putting on music events here. Jules is doing a great job!”

Third year Philosophy student Sophie Parkes is equally excited, saying “it’s brilliant, one of the really decent acts we’re increasingly seeing in St Andrews, even if it is just a DJ set.

“Hopefully it’s a sign of a new, exciting muscal direction for this town.”

St Andrews students now have something to look forward to after deadlines and exams other than eating mince pies and watching Shrek on the telebox. This comes in the form of a band who have been making some impressive waves after the release of their debut album.

You’ll be daft to miss it.

Limited tickets are available for £6 in advance on Friday 4th December 12 – 4 outside the Union.


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