Phosphorescent, gig review- 'rich and powerful'
Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Playing his largest UK show to date, Alabama-born Matthew Houck (aka Phosphorescent) has certainly dressed for a celebration.
The cowboy hat is no surprise, but it’s accompanied by matching white trousers and bolero jacket, and quite possibly the most sparkly gold shoes that Shepherd’s Bush Empire has ever seen.
Tonight’s set spans Houck’s career, including his sixth studio album Muchacho, which expanded his Americana sound into electronic territory and took the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter as close to a breakthrough as he has been.
The songs are beautifully recreated by his six-piece band. On “Tell Me Baby (Have You Had Enough)”, the sound swells with layers of keys, guitars and percussion into a lush, unified whole.
It’s followed by a gorgeous “Song For Zula”, with its hypnotic circling synth riff, made all the more poignant by Houck’s worn, cracked vocals, full of emotion. Few singers have such talent for lyrical phrasing.
Two songs performed solo further showcase his voice, while on “Cocaine Lights” he layers vocal upon vocal until the harmonies are rich and powerful. It’s impressive. The band return for the melancholic “Los Angeles”, shifting dynamics effectively through vibrant Hammond organ-esque keys, barely accompanied vocals and a thrilling instrumental build-up.
It’s heartbreaking, but what sweetness in melancholy delivered like this.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Kajieme Powell: Missouri police release video footage of second man killed by officers
- 4 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Laughs go global as Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran bring international comedians to the Edinburgh Fringe
The Top Ten: Horrible buildings
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 line-up: Meet the contestants from Lauren Goodger to Kellie Maloney and Audley Harrison
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women