Alt-J + Phantogram Played a Sold-Out Madison Square Garden (Photos)

In just three years, Alt-J went from playing in the tiny Mercury Lounge to selling out the Madison Square Garden arena in New York. Phantogram came along for the ride.

It’s hard to believe that the Alt-J boys went from playing the tiny Mercury Lounge to the vast arena of Madison Square Garden in just three years of playing gigs in New York. Certainly a Mercury Prize win didn’t hurt. The English lads had recently played at the Beacon Theater but New Yorkers’ demand wasn’t satiated, as their sold-out gig can attest to. While in town, Alt-J also appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to perform “Every Other Freckle” off their second album, 2014’s This is All Yours. Lead singer Joe Newman and his bandmates, Thom Green, Gus Unger-Hamilton and Cameron Knight led the audience through multiple sing-alongs, like on fan favorites “Tessellate”. While the band didn’t provide a dramatic performance, the alternating moody smoke that enveloped them in the darkness or the strong lights buoyed their distinct electronic sound throughout the night. Besides, the crowd didn’t need action on stage as they didn’t shy from dancing or singing along and making the night their own. The set didn’t last more than 80 minutes but it covered a lot of both their albums, ending with “Breezeblocks” from their debut An Awesome Wave.

Alt-J’s openers were another dance friendly band, the upstate New Yorkers, Phantogram. Lead singer Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter proved able enough for the challenge of getting an arena crowd to dance in what is also their MSG debut. They performed songs from their two albums, Eyelid Movies and 2014’s Voices. Their energetic songs and lights was a great warmup for Alt-J particularly as the crowd got the chance to dust off their dancing shoes and warm up their vocals. Barthel’s wild moves gave more life to songs like “Black Out Days” and “Howling at the Moon” and the crowd appeared thrilled with Phantogram, whether they were familiar with them before or not.

Following the MSG show, both bands announced additional tour dates. Phantogram will be returning to the New York area for a show at the Paramount on May 29th before they take part in the Roots Picnic in Philly on the 30th. Alt-J shared a whole slew of dates that will take them around arenas and theaters in the US in mid- and late summer though they don’t have another NYC gig lined up. Tour dates, as well as photos and both bands’ setlists from The Garden shows are below.



Phantogram setlist:

Nothing But Trouble

Running from the Cops

Black Out Days

Turning Into Stone

Mouthful of Diamonds

Bad Dreams

Don’t Move

Fall in Love

Howling at the Moon

When I’m Small

Alt-J setlist:

Hunger of the Pine


Something Good

Left Hand Free

Dissolve Me

Matilda (Guitar)


Bloodflood Pt. 2

Leon (Ripe & Ruin)


Every Other Freckle


Warm Foothills

The Gospel of John Hurt

[encore break]

Lovely Day (Bill Withers)


Leaving Nara


Phantogram tour dates:

5/15-17 – Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Festival

5/29 – Huntington, NY – Paramount Theater

5/30 – Philadelphia, PA – Roots Picnic

6/25-28 – Rothbury, MI – Electric Forest

Alt-J tour dates:

4/01 – Cleveland, OH – State Theater at Playhouse Square

4/02 – Pittsburgh, PA – Benedum Center

4/03 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheatre

4/04 – Atlanta, GA – Chastain Park Amphitheatre

4/06 – Nashville, TN – Grand Ole Opry

4/08 – Oklahoma City, OK – Chevy Bricktown Events Center

4/11 – Indio, CA – Coachella Music Festival

4/13 – Las Vegas, NV – The Joint

4/14 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl

4/16 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre

4/18 – Indio, CA – Coachella Music Festival

7/24-26 – Oro-Medonte, ON – WayHome Music & Arts Festival

7/25 – Kansas City, KS – Sporting Park

7/27 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre

7/28 – Council Bluffs, IA – Stir Concert Cove at Harrah’s Council Bluffs

7/31 – 8/2 – Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza

7/31 – 8/2 – Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival

9/12 – Burnaby, BC – Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park

9/14 – Edmonton, ALB – Shaw Conference Centre

9/15 – Calgary, ALB – Stampede Corral

9/17 – St. Paul, MN – Roy Wilkins Auditorium

9/19 – Indianapolis, IN – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

9/21 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center

9/22 – Rochester Hills, MI – Meadow Brook

9/23 – East Rochester, NY – The Armory

9/25 – Philadelphia, PA – Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing

9/29 – Charlotte, NC – Uptown Amphitheatre

9/30 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live

10/01 – Miami, FL – Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park

10/07 – New Orleans, LA – Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square

10/08- Birmingham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

10/09 – Southaven, MS – BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove

10/14 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre

10/17 – Portland, OR – Veterans Memorial Coliseum

10/18 – Seattle, WA – Key Arena

Call for Music Writers, Reviewers, and Essayists
Call for Music Writers