Er, Wow. I have got far too many words to describe this experience and feel so incredibly lucky to have witnessed it as it was a one-off in the UK. Matthew Herbert (supersonic sound magician musician) accompanied by his Big Band with Eska on vocals and backed by the Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble at The Barbican on Monday night. The event was part of the British Council's 75th birthday to celebrate their work promoting UK music internationally and giving musicians opportunities to travel for collaboration. "the arts create unique opportunities for new ways of seeing each other, new ways of knowing each other and new ways of being with each other".
Well, by the end of this concert I felt like I had been sitting in an open top sports car that had been travelling at high speed for the 2 hour duration............my cheeks where pinned back to my ears from continuous smiling (this is a regular occurrence) and I had a little trickle of tears in that wake from the emotional journey through Herbert's score. I can't detail it as it will set me off again............BUT it was in the most part equally overwhelmingly joyous as it was political and personal. Herbert deploys incongruous items as instruments and for this isolated event he experimented with newspapers.........the Daily Mail to be precise. The entire team on stage ripped pages to create a baseline of tearing twitters and the action was choreographed into a humorous routine by Struan Leslie (Royal Shakespeare Company). This involved making balls for the orchestra to throw at each other, small confetti to (g)litter the air at intervals and even cheer-leader shape pom-poms for Eska to perform with. I'm not sure if Struan had a hand in Herbert's dance moves, but Matthew shimmied round the stage with a unique Fred Astaire flair which was humbling and hilarious. When not twiddling with his deck of looping bleeps, he regularly raced around the brass section, conductors and choir for inclusion and encouragement to his incredible assembly of collaborators................To top off his Busby Berkley style moves, he wore a suit with top'n'tails but with a twist that the top was replaced with this magnificent kryprtonite bow-tie made for him by Rosy Nicholas. Commissioned by the stylist extraordinaire Rowdy Superstar, the bow-tie was Matthew's element of the overall scheme with Eska decked out in this intergalactic warrior princess dress co-designed with Sarina Mantle. To accessorize Eska, Russell Barratt created a gold coin glove that accentuated her gestures and doubled-up for perfect percussion when shaken into the mic..................Eska looked every bit the blowsy sexy songstress batting her eyelashes making wide-eyed looks to make even Earha Kitt blush.............not to mention the VOICE..............that's a whole other entry.............
Thanks to Rosy for the pics
(l-r Sarina, Rowdy, Russell, Eska)