Live Review: Tindersticks

27 Oct

Brighton Dome: Wednesday, October 26 2011
The first UK Tindersticks shows in years were billed as live performances of their scores from filmmaker Claire Denis’ movies along with some numbers from their eight studio albums.

So there was a palpable sense of disappointment when singer Stuart A Staples opened his mouth to speak and could barely croak.

Due to a severe bout of laryngitis, this was going to be a film score show only

It was immediately obvious that Denis’ assertion that the band often understood her films before she did wasn’t flattery.

Perhaps it’s because Denis gave them a free reign to interpret her work, or maybe it’s just a meeting of minds, but there’s clearly a natural affinity which obliterates the film and music divide.

The opening, dream-like section of a girl on her back in a swimming pool was a prime example; the twinkle of piano expertly timed alongside the bubbles as she exhaled under water.

On another clip, the jolting orchestration and rattling drums chimed perfectly with the shaky camera in a train driver’s cab as it rolled out of Paris, while, later, sweeping strings joyfully captured the happiness of a young couple dancing in their flat.

There was the odd moment when the music jarred with the footage, not least the gentle piano and rumbling basslines which accompanied a graphic description of what appeared to be a rape attack. 

It wasn’t the only section which was difficult to watch, but in other scenes of harrowing violence, murder and fires, the music always added to atmosphere, rather than detracting from it.

This was a brave, original show which vividly brought home how crucial music is to film, whatever the on-screen emotions and actions.


One Response to “Live Review: Tindersticks”

  1. foxy October 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Despite no voice (I thought why not call it off) my friend had not seen tindersticks for years and this was a bitter “birthday” disappointment..does he not realize how important his voice is to the proceedings? Or what??? I felt the scores were messily put together and the whole thing became intensely intolerable to watch – maybe that was the aim. I still gave it a 6/10 overall because the band played well and it was well – different..but they would do better to show a complete film with subtitles, as in the battle of Algiers and asian dub foundation – who did it to great effect..or Goldfrapp with Joan of Arc.. than snippets like this and get permission to run the score throughout as the film with subtitles it would mean writing more music or using music from other films to cover one film but I still think it would be it was …the film footage was confusing and messy unless you had seem the films and understood the context more. Oh well…

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