Pop gig of the week: Big Star Third, Barbican, London EC2


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Defiance against the odds is the spirit of this tribute to US cult heroes Big Star's ill-starred 1974 third album, Third/ Sister Lovers.

It's a show of two halves, both tribute jamboree and a "play the album" gig, with Sharon Van Etten, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, I Am Kloot's John Bramwell, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, REM's Mike Mills, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, Big Star's Jody Stephens and others recreating Third, helped by orchestrations.

But a deeper drama hinges on how Third's auteur, the late Alex Chilton, fielded personal crises (drink, drugs, declining career) into a bracingly chaotic album that, while bleak at heart ("Holocaust" – none more bleak), illuminates its own murk with flushes of beauty and a fighting spirit, the latter expressed in flash flurries of frustrated noise.

Dissed by its label as "uncommercial", Third has since become a revered testament to outsider grit, cause not for sadness but for celebration, of which this indie all-stars do should offer plenty.

(020 7638 8891; barbican.org.uk) Mon