Category: Live reviews

HATSUNE MIKU, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 13 Jan 2020

So far in the UK we’ve mostly made do with Roy Orbison for our holographic musical entertainment, though Whitney Houston will be rematerialising on stage here soon. Meanwhile in Japan, Hatsune Miku has been pioneering this kind of thing.   Miku is a cartoon character in the manga style, perpetually 16 years old, with turquoise hair to the floor and… Read more →

MICHAEL BUBLE, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 10 Dec 2019

‘Tis the season for Michael Bublé. The Canadian balladeer’s 2011 Christmas album sold 12 million copies and is as vital a part of the season as knowing what time the Queen’s speech is on. So it was the perfect time for him to drop down the O2’s chimney and throw a few snowy songs into his usual array of swinging… Read more →

A CELEBRATION OF TALK TALK AND MARK HOLLIS, Royal Festival Hall – Evening Standard, 27 Nov 2019

Talk Talk’s frontman Mark Hollis died in February but he left the music world long before that, making this tribute evening an incredibly rare opportunity to hear his idiosyncratic music played live. Past collaborators, younger admirers and founding keyboard player Simon Brenner journeyed through one of rock’s stranger career paths, which ended after Hollis released his only solo album and… Read more →

BJÖRK, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 20 Nov 2019

An artist’s first arena appearance is usually an indication that they’re at their commercial peak, fully in the mainstream with enough hits to fill 90 minutes or more. For Björk, making her inaugural visit to the O2 at 53, it was an opportunity to display the world of her most recent album on the grandest scale. Anyone hoping to hear… Read more →

SLOWTHAI, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 21 Oct 2019

Tyron “Slowthai” Frampton’s arrival was preceded by a vigorous audience chant of “Fuck Boris” – the same sentiment expressed by the Northampton rapper when he stole the show at last month’s Mercury Prize ceremony, also available in the lobby for £25 in T-shirt form, if anyone fancied marking this politically charged weekend by wearing multiple naked cartoon Prime Ministers.  … Read more →

HOLLY HERNDON, Barbican – Evening Standard, 17 Oct 2019

The star of the show was missing from Holly Herndon’s performance: not the American electronic musician herself, but Spawn, an artificially intelligent machine that played a major role in her extraordinary recent album, PROTO.   Still just a toddler of two, it seems Spawn wasn’t quite developed enough for a live show, but its evolution sounds fascinating. Herndon, who recently… Read more →

COMMON, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 11 Sept 2019

It doesn’t usually bode well for an impatient crowd when the roadie wheels out a leather armchair and a standard lamp for the main attraction’s arrival. Thankfully, Lonnie “Common” Lynn barely used his props except as signifiers that this wasn’t just his latest gig. It was also an exceptionally energetic episode of This is Your Life.   Even the smell… Read more →

ARIANA GRANDE, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 19 Aug 2019

Ariana Grande could be forgiven for avoiding concerts, to stay coccooned in the recording studio where she is currently so prolific. This was the start of her first new tour in Europe since an ex-boyfriend’s death and the bomb at her Manchester show that killed 23 in 2017. No one begrudged the strict security, with only clear plastic bags allowed… Read more →

WILDERNESS FESTIVAL, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire – Evening Standard, 5 Aug 2019

Cricket, fine dining and a remarkable amount of public nudity: over nine years Wilderness has carved out a singular niche for itself in festival season.   This is supposed to be the posh one – Sloane Square in a field. David Cameron was snapped here twice before. Those paying a significant extra sum to eat in marquee restaurants run by… Read more →

STEVIE WONDER, Hyde Park – Evening Standard, 8 July 2019

Recent rumours about Stevie Wonder’s health were cleared up by the soul legend himself this weekend. He has a kidney donor lined up and will undergo a transplant in September. That meant this show, his third appearance in Hyde Park in this decade, will be one of his last for some time. Understandably he went with a bang.   The… Read more →