(This video unfortunately cuts off after two and a half minutes, but people don’t tend to video stuff at the Barbican, so there’s not much to choose from.)
Why this gig
I heard about this gig through a Songkick alert which I got because Stealing Sheep were playing. It’s been far too long since they played London so I leapt at the opportunity to see them again.
But it’s also one of the Barbican’s themed nights – which is another good reason to see it. And the theme is music from David Lynch films. So there was no way I wasn’t going to be there.
These nights don’t work like that. There’s a house band and they play for various guest singers during the show.
The house band walk onstage wearing grotesque white masks. The first piece of “music” has the musical director sawing an amplified log. This can only be a David Lynch show.
But that’s probably the weirdest part of the night. After that we get down to some serious music. I’ll admit that I didn’t recognise a lot of the songs or a lot of the performers, but most of it was really good.
Conor O’Brien (of Villagers) did a pretty straight cover of “Blue Velvet”. The guitarist from the house band did a pedestrian impersonation of Elvis Presley for “Love Me”. Stuart Staples (of Tindersticks) did a few good covers – I particularly like his version of “Just You”, but that’s always been one of my favourite scenes from Twin Peaks. Mick Harvey (from The Bad Seeds) was largely indistinguishable from Stuart Staples.
For me, it was the women who really really carried the night. I enjoyed Jehnny Beth’s (of Savages) performances – although I didn’t recognise the songs. And I thought Sophia Brous’ version of “Crying” (sung in Spanish – as it is in Mulholland Drive) was fabulous.
I have no idea what Cibo Matto played. I may well have known the songs, but they warped them out of all possible recognition. It was great. I really need to listen to more Cibo Matto.
But, as expected, for me the highlight was Stealing Sheep. If you don’t know their music, then do yourself a favour and listen to their album, Into the Diamond Sun. Not only will you instantly become a fan, but you’ll also see why they were the perfect band to be involved with this project. In fact, David Lynch should just get on the phone to them and ask them to score his next film.
As is traditional on these nights, the evening ended with everyone on stage singing the most obvious song. Which, on this occasion, was “Wicked Game”. It kind of worked, but wasn’t the rousing ending to the evening that we might have hoped for.