Music review: David Byrne & St. Vincent, Roundhouse, London

4.00

 

St. Vincent - Annie Clark, a young American singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitar player - introduces the Love This Giant band, who stamped a clear sound on the album of the same name she recorded with David Byrne last year; the tour also, she notes, “features a whole hell of a lot of brass” (eight players within a ten-man band). As for Byrne? Well, he’s just introduced as “The archangel of absurdity”.

It’s a good name for the former Talking Heads frontman, who with white hair, white shirt, trousers and shoes, and an unruffled demeanour, flies through the two-hour set, robot dancing and hip-swivelling. The band boogie too; much is loosely choreographed, with trumpet-waving conga lines and synchronised sousaphone shimmies. Clark alternately stands taut, legs spread, shredding that electric guitar, or scuttles back and forth on high heels, giving her an eerie, automaton gliding movement. With their silly but straight-faced shape-pulling, Byrne and Clark match each other in cheerily performative eccentricity. They’re like the coolest ever unlikely intergenerational wedding disco pairing.

There’s also real respect for each other’s music: as well as playing their collaborative album  - which comes to life excellently - there are brassed up versions of his and her’s solo material, as well as Talking Heads numbers. It’s clear which the audience prefers: they go crazy for "This Must Be the Place", which has a more laid-back groove (courtesy of much woodwind) than many of the new tracks, while "Road to Nowhere" provides a beaming big finish.

They sound good together too: Clark’s silky cool coos and trills have an almost electronic sheen, whereas Byrne’s vocals are ever-garrulous, dryly humorous. Occasionally, he goes fully bombastic, as on "I Am an Ape", while the band skank-walk, recreating the evolution of man with added parp.

Towards the end of the set, Clark pays tribute to Byrne’s singular talents, describing how a childhood encounter with his work made her realise music can take you to an “awesome, stratospheric” alternate place. Byrne has, she suggests, done what we all hope to do: “insert more joy into the universe than existed prior to us”. “Joy” sums up the evening, and the songs that follow brim with it. Her stand-out track "Cruel" is buoyed by brass and, even alongside growling guitar, the effect is giddily upbeat, while a rendition of Talking Heads’ "Burning Down the House" is tight, bright and duly sets the crowd alight. David Byrne + St. Vincent = joy squared.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before