Reviews

  • Review

NOS Alive, Lisbon, festival review

Radiohead and Arcade Fire rarely perform, but NOS Alive brought both mega bands to the stage to celebrate the festival's 10th birthday

  • Review

Prom 4 and Prom 5 review

Did Valery Gergiev dictate the menu for his Prom with the Munich Philharmonic? It was a strange idea to place Galina Ustvolskaya’s Symphony No 3 between Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto and Rodzinski’s Rosenkavalier arrangement – two crowd-pleasers sandwiching a crowd-confuser, judging by the muted audience response. This little-heard Soviet composer’s sound-world of painfully scrunched dissonances radiated a frozen desperation – mirroring, we are told, her defiant isolation in life – but it had magnificent integrity. And it absolutely needed setting in a meaningful context, alongside other Soviet works from the same period.

  • Review

Dilated Peoples, Jazz Café, gig review

London's Jazz Café has now been taken over and newly refurbished by nightlife operator The Columbo Group, who have done a fantastic job in not only keeping it as an intimate venue for hip-hop, but have (most importantly) got the air conditioning working.

  • Review

Lovebox with LCD Soundsystem, Victoria Park, review

In an era of high-profile comebacks, few reformations have proved as contentious as that of LCD Soundsystem. Having exited the New York dance-punk scene stage left at the top of their game in 2011 to much self-aggrandising fanfare – an epic, three-hour farewell gig in Madison Square Garden, a film documenting the epic three-hour farewell gig, a deluxe vinyl edition of the gig – James Murphy’s decision to bring his cult collective back just five years later has polarised opinion. Cash-in? Or artistic statement?

  • Review

Magdalena Kožená sings Cole Porter, review

Until now, Magdalena Kozena has played her Wigmore Hall residency very straight, collaborating with Mitsuko Uchida and Simon Rattle in thoughtful programmes of chamber music. But for this final concert the Czech mezzo-soprano swapped Brahms for Broadway and Wigmore for Wilton’s, heading out east for an evening of Cole Porter.

  • Review

Il Trovatore, Royal Opera House, review

What struck contemporary audiences as powerful and new – a supposed witch burnt at the stake, an abducted baby, a mother burning the wrong baby, an amorous rival killing his brother without realising his identity against the backdrop of civil war – is to us all but risible, were it not for Verdi’s melodic genius.

  • Review

Carole King, Hyde Park, review: 'Triumphant'

A solo reprise of her deathless hit “You've Got A Friend” – tweaked to reference London – made a fitting finale to Carole King’s belated but triumphant attempt at a whole-album set.

  • Review

Lionel Richie, Manchester Arena, gig review

As the loud announcement of “Hello” predictably echoes out through the arena as an introduction, Lionel Richie struts onstage to a thunderstorm of flashing lights and sound effects. This tour promises “all the hits” and from the off that’s what is delivered.