Review: David Byrne, Royal Concert Hall

Via This is Nottingham

By This is Nottingham

With the likes of Neil Young and Jarvis Cocker on their way, it's already looking like a great year for gigs in Nottingham. But everyone's got their work cut out to top David Byrne's show on Saturday night. It could well be the gig of the year (and, yes, I know it's only April).

Promised an evening of music by Byrne and Brian Eno, you'd be forgiven for expecting stultifying arty worthiness.

But Byrne tore up the house with a show that was colourful, exciting, funky, funny and clever, bringing his audience to their feet, never to sit down, with a devastatingly powerful version of Talking Heads' Crosseyed And Painless.

Earlier, Byrne and his band, dressed in brilliant white, blasted out an exuberant I Zimbra, a stunning Houses In Motion and an astonishing remake of Help Me Somebody from the ground-breaking My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, Byrne hysterically wailing as he took the place of the record's recording of a manic radio preacher.

The haunting Heaven, and folky new songs like One Fine Day and My Big Nurse, provided quieter pleasures. Drummer Graham Hawthorne, percussionist Mauro Refosco and bassist Paul Frazier's warm precision brilliantly accompanied witty New York choreography performed by dancers Lily Baldwin, Natalie Kuhn and Steven Reker.

But it was in the later stages that things really took off. Once In A Lifetime's scything funk, pop smarts and arty experimentation are as gripping now as ever, Life During Wartime is still surreal and ominous and an eerie re-arrangement of Born Under Punches was spine-chilling.

The barnstorming encores – Take Me To The River, Air, The Great Curve and the hilarious, tutu-clad Burning Down The House – were followed by the Twin Peaks-esque mystery of Everything That Happens.

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