Category: Live reviews

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 →

KING PRINCESS, Kentish Town Forum – Evening Standard, 27 June 2019

King Princess began her Glastonbury weekend early, stopping by Kentish Town for an extra show before she heads to Somerset. The New York singer-songwriter with the gender-melding stage name, born Mikaela Straus, is shaping up to be one of the festival’s, and the year’s, most arresting new voices, putting her queerness out front in her sophisticated pop compositions.   If… Read more →

DIDO, Roundhouse – Evening Standard, 31 May 2019

While Dido albums haven’t exactly come along like buses over the years, it’s in concert that the singer has really become a rare sighting. Currently on her first world tour in 15 years, it seems a very long time since her tasteful balladry was as ubiquitous as Adele’s and Ed Sheeran’s have been since.   Sales for her recent fifth… Read more →

MARK KNOPFLER, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 29 May 2019

Now 69, Mark Knopfler raised the possibility of his retirement at this show. The former Dire Straits frontman won’t have time for golf or gardening soon, however. This tour runs til September and has already involved two Albert Hall concerts. Next summer Local Hero, a musical based on the 1983 film for which he has written numerous new songs, arrives… Read more →

THE SPECIALS, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 17 May 2019

Forty years for your first number one album is some wait. Having reunited a decade ago for nostalgia gigs, Coventry ska favourites The Specials finally came up with new music this year, and found that there was still enough of a public appetite for it to edge them ahead of Hugh Jackman in the chart for a week – “Which… Read more →