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Music |

Review: In Dreams – David Lynch Revisited at Barbican

Wednesday 25 June 2014

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Words Spindle

The house lights go down and a single spotlight on stage draws our attention to… a man sawing a log. I know I’m in the right place as there’s only one person who it could be a reference to; film director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor, David Lynch.

“Every time I hear sounds, I see pictures. Then, I start getting ideas. It just drives me crazy” – the words of Lynch, known for his maverick style. After a recent Twin Peaks marathon (which left me with some interesting dreams to say the least), I was particularly excited to see his soundtracks reimagined live by a series of musicians who are brilliant in their own right; Jehnny Beth from Savages, Conor O’Brian of Villagers and Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples being some of the highlights.

This wasn’t really a concert about music – it was about atmosphere and mood – the music playing just a part in that; dramatic lighting on stage helped set the tone for the performances, often casting the musicians as shadowy silhouettes. I was pleased by the Twin Peaks references throughout; a Laura Palmer framed photo loomed in the background and projections of Bob flashed up ominously, surrounded by red curtain.

The performances themselves were jaw-dropping, it was clear how much the artists were enjoying being a part of it and their passion for all things Lynchian. Savages’ Jehnny Beth’s stage presence was mesmerising and dramatic – given added aplomb by bursts of strobe lighting punctuating the music. Familiar songs such as Blue Velvet and Falling (the Twin Peaks infamous theme tune) were given fresh and sensitive renditions from Conor O’Brian and Stuart Staples respectively. Cibo Matto came on stage to play three songs in their own energetic style, bringing a welcome change of pace to the otherwise brooding atmosphere of the evening. Accompanied by someone playing the tombola… as a musical instrument.

The only disappointment were Stealing Sheep, who seemed a little twee and out of place amongst the effortless performances. That was soon forgotten as we reached the finale of the night: Wicked Games with Mick Harvey and Sophia Brous on lead vocals, accompanied by all of the artists from the night backing them. The stuff of dreams.