Laurie Anderson at Primavera Sound: part free-improv performance art, part TED talk

The show is conceptually dense: within the first 15 minutes we’ve done Trump, the Ukraine war, climate collapse, and AI, and Anderson has got us all to scream at the top of our lungs together for 10 seconds while considering all of the above in homage to her old pal Yoko Ono. She switches between singing actual songs, delivering miniature lectures through a vocoder while her band vamps away in the background, and reading out slogans that beam up on the screen behind her. “Every love story is a g

Jonny Greenwood's classical performance at EOTR was in the spirit of sharing, humility and intense shyness

It’s a mark of how far Jonny Greenwood’s solo music has diverged from that of his parent band that literally no-one attending tonight’s EOTR headline slot on the Garden Stage will have come expecting to hear a note of Radiohead, or even much in the same soundworld, despite the gourmet (and, alas, utterly specious) rumour going round as the stage-time drew nearer that Thom Yorke was on Greenwood’s guestlist. Paradoxically, though, despite the aesthetic separation, it’s also a mark of how closely

There's a dystopian hellscape unfolding – Kate Tempest was there to help us cry together at End Of The Road

Let’s start at the end then: it’s dusk, Kate Tempest has just told a field of 5,000 that she loves our faces, and everyone’s crying. The crowd shuffle off into the night wiping their eyes in contemplative astonishment at a performer and writer seemingly communicating on a different plane to anything else here, filled with a warmth and optimism as if absorbed osmotically from the stage, unsure what to do next. Quite how we got here, though, is a little more complicated: a last-minute addition to

Robyn’s headline festival show relives the incurable rush of falling in love

The set is initially dressed, like Robyn, entirely in white. A sort of bridal, hopeful purity. A sheer sheet dangles from the stage roof, billowing in the wind over the front row of the crowd like a lace curtain out of a top-floor window on a breezy summer afternoon. There’s a simplicity to it, but also intrigue, like an establishing shot in some doomed romantic Goddard movie. When Robyn tears it down midway through a song, the music ratchets up its strange melancholy euphoria one more notch, an

Baffling and ludicrous, but kidding itself of artistic heft – St. Vincent's new not-live live show

Having built a catalogue of impressive records, presented them in increasingly accomplished live realisations and amassed a mantlepieceful of awards for her work along the way, Annie Clark has now reached the point in her career as St Vincent where she can do whatever she likes and interest will follow. What she’s done with that freedom, however, is unexpected: tonight, for 90 minutes, she stands with her guitar, static and alone, and sings along to studio-prepared mp3s that boom from the speak

There are two sides to a Regina Spektor live show - and one is distinctly better than the other

A hallmark of recent Regina Spektor albums is that despite a continuing preponderance of elegantly idiosyncratic songcraft, you’re now never more than 10 minutes from a cutesy reggae pastiche or a Radio 2 piano ballad with all the characteristics of an overripe banana. Spektor appears to have extended that to her live incarnation: for every joyful demonstration of what a distinctive songwriter she is, there’s another of faux-naivité that feels less like the work of a brilliant auteur two decades

Last week Belle & Sebastian played a show at working retirement home for army vets - it was a very English occasion

“Could this feel any more English?” ponders Belle And Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, surveying the scene in front of him after this evening’s opening song. He has a point: tonight, the Royal Hospital Chelsea – a working retirement home for army vets – cuts a very specific figure of, if not England, then the English establishment at least, with the sun setting over a commanding gold statue of Charles II, restorer of the monarchy, Chelsea pensioners in their scarlet uniforms dotted around the audienc

We couldn't let Primavera Sound 2017 pass by without mentioning how FABULOUS Grace Jones' performance was

What is perhaps most winning about Jones’s performance, though, is that despite the high production values – there’s eight different outfits, a thong-wearing male acrobat cavorting around a stripper pole and a section where Jones becomes a one-woman glitter ball when a multicoloured laser is shone directly onto her sequinned bowler hat – none of it feels inauthentic, or like it’s on rails. There is no backing track, no autotune, no choreography or scripted banter, just a crack band of musicians
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