Meltdown: The Last Post

It’s the last day of the festival, and the journalists of Meltdown Media have one last review to post before they go. The ten-strong team has done a great job of reporting on the festival, posting daily reviews, interviews, photos and video. We wish them all the best as they go back to A-levels, university courses, jobs and gap years.

We’ll leave the last word to Max, who emailed to say: ‘I feel unbelievably lucky to have partaken in the course … I’m definitely going to miss attending the Meltdown Festival and I think I will have many sentimental memories from it.’

We’ll second that.

Amanda Holloway, Ruth Hardie and Amber Price-Rees

Last Night’s Review: Young Jean Lee’s ‘We’re Gonna Die’
by Grace Hathaway

150827_We're_Gonna_DieA casual browser of the Meltdown programme may have been baffled by the phrases ‘We’re Gonna Die’ and ‘life-affirming’ placed in such close proximity to each other, but that is exactly what Young Jean Lee’s play is. Having been warned by other members of the Meltdown Media team that I would ‘definitely cry’ and that the performance was ‘really depressing’, I was thrilled to find that though I did cry, I also came away feeling uplifted.

We’re Gonna Die provides a delightful balance of increasingly personal and dark monologues with catchy songs, blending humour and honesty in a way that allows the audience to really connect with Lee. David Byrne’s voice carries the songs easily, with an absolute highlight being his hilarious impersonation of Lee’s great grandmother – on her deathbed!

Lee’s performance combines whimsy with pain through a little dark humour, declaring at the start that though ‘I hope none of you are in pain or lonely right now’, if we are, she hopes that the performance will give us some comfort. That is the overwhelming theme of the play really, the fact that grief and loneliness and suffering are an inescapable part of human life, but there are small things that can give a little comfort which she shares with us.

At the end of the performance the audience joined in with an a cappella rendition of the final song, and there was something wonderfully reassuring about hearing hundreds of people joining Lee and the band to sing out the words ‘we’re gonna die’.

The final performance of We’re Gonna Die is tonight, get your tickets here.

Meltdown Stories: An Afternoon Spent With Lonnie Holley

On a rainy Monday afternoon, Meltdown Media journalists Clara and Maxine made their way backstage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall to meet Lonnie Holley.

A rush of excitement and nerves flowed as we went over our meticulously crafted questions outside the door of the green room. For those of you who don’t know Lonnie Holley, he is a sculpture artist and experimental improvising musician. His musical work is often categorised as ‘uncategorised’ but you might say it centres on a mixture of jazz and folk. Our relaxed meeting with Lonnie revolved around topics such as the brain, his respect for our Queen and grapevines.

If you are aware of Lonnie you will have no doubt heard of his perplexing upbringing: Lonnie Bradley Holley Sr. was born in 1950’s Birmingham, Alabama, into a large family of 27 children. Lonnie was sold for a pint of whiskey at the age of four; and so the story to Lonnie’s heartening 65 years begins.

We were greeted with a warm welcome by Lonnie, who was improvising at the piano preparing for his performance later on that evening. He invited us to pull up a chair and our discussion began. Asked about the presence of music in his upbringing he said: “If one would say taking music, no; doing music, yes. My grandfather sung all day long, my grandfather was in World War I, and he sung there. And when he came back home, he sung at home… I love music, I can’t help it. Music has been a mother and a father for me. Music’s been a friend for me.”

From music we moved on to talk about Lonnie’s second passion, his sculpture. Lonnie has been creating abstract works since the 80’s and has been credited by institutes such as the Smithsonian. He recalled his desire to sculpt from a young age: “I see my whole life as being an artist because up and down the ditch, digging worms I’d run across broken glass, broken bricks, broken rocks and things – I moved roots. Same thing I’m doing now… A lot of times I would stack that in a certain way that I liked because it was beautiful to me.”

The majority of Lonnie’s sculpture incorporates upcycled materials and natural resources such as sand. Lonnie explained his choice of resources: “Everything I touched I tried to make sure it got understood as something. Not no piece of garbage – stop doing that to the human brain. Let’s get trash out of our vocabulary. Let’s move some things in order to make it better for what? Our mother universe.”

When asked which came first, his sculptures or his music Lonnie said they existed simultaneously. He describes the unity between his work as like Siamese twins: “They come from the same place, same brain. I haven’t created a greater love for either one of them.”

At the end of the interview Lonnie asked for a wire hanger from his dressing room and gave us a quick demonstration of his work. We were intrigued to see what Lonnie was going to do with this piece of metal. As we watched him bend the hanger and manipulate its shape, we were awed to see how he transformed this everyday object into the face of a woman. The piece is called ‘Any spoonful of knowledge will do’. We were lucky enough to film the entire process. Clara Thomas

See it here.

Later that evening, Lonnie’s gig began in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The supporting act of the evening was Alexis Taylor, who created an easy-going vibe, playing the keyboard and singing soothing vocals alongside his band.

After the interval, Lonnie came on stage with his live band and was welcomed by the cheering crowd. Seated at his keyboard, the 65-year-old performed songs from his Just Before Music album, including ‘All Rendered Truth’, released in 2012. Singing distinctive and resonating vocals, Lonnie’s improvisational performance truly showed his creative and artistic character. His imaginative lyrics and expressive vocals created a dream-like environment.

Throughout the set, musicians from his band each had solo sections, including the double bass, drums and keyboard. The blend of instrumentals in this performance, mixed with Lonnie’s harmonious vocals made for a highly original sound.

Alexis Taylor joined him on keyboards towards the end of the set, and at the finish, the whole band took a bow and thanked crowd for their support. Maxine Harrison

Meltdown continues this weekend: look on the Southbank Centre Meltdown site for details.

Meltdown Day 11: So What Next?

Meltdown festival may be drawing to a close this weekend, with tonight’s screening of Planet of The Apes complete with a live score by the BBC Orchestra, and performances by theatre/music crossover artists Gob Squad, and Young Jean Lee’s ‘We’re Gonna Die‘ but if, after this weekend you find yourself with Meltdown Festival withdrawal symptoms there are still a few things left to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Lauren Laverne interviewing David Byrne on BBC Radio 6 Music

Lauren Laverne interviewing David Byrne on BBC Radio 6 Music

Firstly, maybe you want to listen to the man himself discussing why he chose the artists he did for this year’s Meltdown Festival. Over on BBC 6music you will find ‘The David Byrne Radio Show’, David Byrne in conversation with Gilles Peterson, and Lauren Laverne’s show from last friday – which she recorded live with David Byrne from the fifth floor balcony terrace. Lauren was also joined by other Meltdown performers such as Sinkane, Money Mark and Matthew Herbert – well worth a listen.

Speaking of Matthew Herbert, the multi-talented musician used the sounds of the doors at the Southbank centre to create a song specifically for the festival titled ‘Something at the door’ feat. Rahel. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that every sound you hear on this track, except Rachel of course, is taken from the building. Amazing!

Next up, maybe you want to know more about the Southbank Centre itself. If you’ve turned up for a performance a little early this weekend, or even if you are just keen to know more about the history of the building, why not put your headphones on for a guided audio tour of the Southbank? There is even a pdf map you can download to help you navigate your way around!

Finally, maybe you haven’t had a chance to come and see any of the eclectic mix of performers but you are keen to hear who David Byrne chose for his festival. Or perhaps you can’t remember the name of that excellent support band. Well here is a handy mix of songs by each and every musician to leave you with your own Meltdown Festival in your living room after the excitement is over.

Last Night’s Review: Young Marble Giants

by Louisa Attfield

The post-punk group Young Marble Giants, celebrating 35 years since their best-selling album Colossal Youth, were greeted with massive applause as they made their way on stage at the Royal Festival Hall.

Adult Jazz had warmed up the crowd with their psychedelic mix of indie, pop, jazz and hip hop, their distinctive style a patchwork of influence and inspiration. The songs radiated a charismatic energy and the band were relaxed, lulling the audience into a sense of carefree abandon as they listened.

When Young Marble Giants came on, the audience was immediately drawn in. With the dark, discordant riffs of the Velvet Underground and Alison Statton’s haunting, floating vocals reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian, the group manage to add a certain beauty and tranquillity to what would otherwise appear to be rage-filled songs. Hardlymoving, the group, Statton in particular, managed to hold the crowd enthralled. She stood in the centre, powerful and charismatic, whilst the brothers stood to either side absorbed in playing guitars and keyboard. Between tracks the group’s often self-deprecating humour kept everyone’s focus whilst they retuned, and their amusing anecdotes prevented anyone from losing patience. A minimalist approach, off-kilter and unique even 35 years later, means the songs from that album are still fresh.

Simple and powerful, Young Marble Giants enchanted the audience with disjointed riffs, thought-provoking lyrics and sweet, pure vocals. It’s no wonder Kurt Cobain was a fan.

Meltdown Day 10: Looking Beyond the Headliners

We are past the halfway point in the final week of Meltdown, and we’ve already seen an eclectic mix of artists, from drone metal pioneers Sunn 0))) to flamenco singer Estrella Morente. Tonight cult post-punk band Young Marble Giants perform their 1980 album Colossal Youth and Young Jean Lee premieres her life affirming show We’re Gonna Die. But it’s not just the big names that deserve to be mentioned. The support acts at Meltdown are unique and accomplished but they struggle for attention alongside the headliners. So today I am going to highlight my three favourite support acts.

1) Nubiyan Twist

Nubiyan Twist

Nubiyan Twist

A surprising choice, perhaps, but jazz fusion band Nubiyan Twist supported indie group François and the Atlas Mountains on Tuesday and their contrasting styles complemented each other perfectly. The 12-piece group effortlessly fused 60s jazz with modern groove and hip-hop. The combination of saxophones and guitars with turntables and synthesisers produced a unique and vibrant sound. The star of the show, however, was main vocalist Nubiyan Brandon, charismatic with a voice that moved between smooth jazz to spoken word. A vibrant take on both the old and the new, Nubiyan Twist is a group to watch out for.

2) Phurpa

Opening for the drone metal band Sunn 0))), famous for their loud and theatrical live shows, is no easy feat but Phurpa proved up to the challenge. The three hooded members sat in a semicircle on stage holding the crowd’s interest in what could be mistaken for a Satanist prayer ritual. Using a range of Tibetan ritual instruments and practising a deep, unintelligible chant called gyukye, the group mesmerised the audience. The repetitive music was dark, unique and riveting and strangely cathartic. They play the kind of music you can use to get you to sleep, but only if you want to have nightmares.

3) Reuben Hollebon

Reuben Hollebon is a young singer-songwriter who hails from Norfolk, England. His vulnerable barefoot appearance and raw voice highlights his personal lyrics in an unforgettable, intimate experience. Alone on stage, with just a half-size guitar, singing about the moonlight and changing landscape, Hollebon is so different from the confident, often brash, polished performers that often grace the stage. His personal performance transports the audience to the lonely wild landscape that he calls home.

Honourable mention: Adult Jazz

Tonight indie quartet Adult Jazz support Young Marble Giants in what promises to be a memorable performance. The Leeds-based group, whose fragmented songs can be a difficult listen, explore themes such as oppression and gender confusion. This unpredictable, dynamic group is well worth exploring.

Buy tickets here

 

Last Night’s Review: Sam Green

Honor Virden

Sam Green

Sam Green

The New York-based filmmaker Sam Green opened his live-music documentary showing with The Rainbow Man’s Ex, a short piece as intriguing and unusual as it sounds, which makes a surprising link between an eccentric and notorious sporting fan and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

In The Measure Of All Things, with its documentary film footage, in-person commentary and live music, Green illustrates perfectly the wonderful weirdness of the world we live in. Somehow through his childlike fascination for the Guinness Book of World Records he hints at the humanity and evolution of society in each featured story but without attempting to patronise you with moral conclusions.

Matched with his soothing and honest method of speech, you feel lulled into a happy tranquillity with existence, like a child being read a bedtime story that somehow encompasses everything you need to know about humanity without being distressing. It does contain darker moments – such as the man stuck in an elevator for 41 hours or the suicide of the man who survived being struck by lightning seven times because he said he was ‘unlucky in love’.

The soft visual tones of Green were matched by a musical accompaniment so well rehearsed that if it weren’t for the richness of sound you could forget it was live. It was essentially a beautiful experience.

Meltdown Day 9: Turning a spotlight on the audience

Honor Virden skewers the social stereotypes in the Meltdown Crowd

02

credit: Victor Frankowski

THE CASUAL INTELLECTUAL

You are between 50-70 years old, taking a break from your addiction to BBC Four documentaries and constant visits to London’s largest art exhibitions to attend Meltdown to see something different. If female, you have a cropped haircut, probably bleached blonde or naturally grey, matched with a bold print blouse and oversized glasses. If male, you’ll be found with wild and wiry grey hair, a shirt and the most comfortable pair of shoes you own.

Most likely to be found at: Estrella Morente; Young Jean Lee’s ‘We’re Gonna Die’; Gaby Moreno

FRIENDS WITH CULTURAL BENEFITS

You’re two women in your mid- to late-20s, most likely found drinking wine-based concoctions until the self-conscious seat-shuffle dance progresses to standing and dancing excitedly to a band you’ve been assured is very underground – until you notice it’s just you and return to your seat. Wearing semi-office-appropriate clothing, e.g. a polyester pastel tank top, jeans, the summer ‘essential’ metallic flats and a blazer. You will be mildly hungover at work the next day but this will not stop you talking about how amazing the band that no one in the office has heard of is, and feeling quietly superior for being in the know.

Most likely to be found at: Matthew Herbert, Benjamin Clementine, Sinkane, Sam Green’s ‘the measure of all things’

CLASSIC HIPSTER

You’re in your early to mid-20s, you’re a man with scruffy hair, a beard and horn-rimmed glasses, wearing a band or striped Uniqlo tee your partner probably bought for you, matched with chinos, suede shoes and a Herschel backpack. You will also get slightly drunk but on vodka and coke with someone you haven’t been dating long enough to feel completely comfortable with. Unlike the Friends with Cultural Benefits, the evening will only get a brief mention on one of your many social media accounts, most likely Twitter or Instagram, so people know you’re doing cool stuff but it’s totally no big deal.

Most likely to be found at: Anna Calvi, François and the Atlas Mountains, Young Marble Giants

FRIENDS OF THE BAND

You are in your early- to mid-20s and can be found in a massive group of your supercool friends all dressed in a mix of faded denim, Urban Outfitters, vintage, regulation trendy trainers and with unisex topknots. You know you are the coolest person there, not only because you’re young and you’ll never get old like everyone else but also because you knew the underground band before they even existed. You will talk loudly to others in your group about the performers so everyone in the audience knows you’re not just the same as the classic hipster sitting behind you.

Most likely to be found at: François and the Atlas Mountains, Bianca Cassady

THE MELTDOWN MEDIA JOURNALIST

You are 16 to 21 years old and can be found viciously trying to absorb every moment of Meltdown trying to come up with an original piece for the blog and over-analysing those around you.  Or you’re attempting to look natural at the after-show party, while wearing a Meltdown Media tee-shirt mostly covered with some kind of hoodie or jacket in an attempt to make you seem like one of the professionals and not just an inexperienced adolescent with too much responsibility.

Most likely found at: Any gig you could get tickets to

 

Interview: Francesca Nunn meets François and the Atlas Mountains

François & The Atlas Mountains 2014

François & The Atlas Mountains 2014

I arrive in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with fellow Meltdown Media journalist Max to speak to François Marry, lead singer of François and the Atlas Mountains, ahead of his Meltdown performance yesterday evening (Tuesday 25).

François is atop a lighting rig, surveying his kingdom. “This is big, yeah! We’ve done some huge festivals in France, which were not as prestigious-looking as here, but very busy. I’m probably more comfortable in smaller places.” Nonetheless this avid Talking Heads fan is excited to be here, and effervesces about David Byrne’s dance moves – “He’s sensational, it’s just so spontaneous and at the same time very tight – you think, how did they get that together?” He neglects to mention his own moves, or indeed the fleeting choreographed interlude we were treated to in the performance I attended that evening.

Marry is emphatically French. His English is perfect – a Scottish bandmate and seven years in Bristol made sure of that – but he pronounces every syllable, charmingly trips over diphthongs, and before the finale of his concert, apologised to the audience for singing in French too much: “If you stay, I can translate all my songs word-for-word into English right now!”

The band’s newest project marries François and the Atlas Mountain’s romantic electro-pop with African rhythms and instrumentation – the xylophone-like balafon, the ngoni and the thianhoun, played by Djiga Boubacar and Sanou Darra who flew from Burkina Faso especially for Meltdown. So how exactly did this come about? “We were so inspired by African music, and we wanted to see what it was like on location, so we ended up recording songs with them.” Two days in Ouagadougou that resulted in three songs, and 10 days overall in African Francophonie exploring rhythms and traditions resulted in L’Homme tranquille. “It still sounds very exciting, but they’re also songs that are very old, over 200 years old. It feels like very natural music, very instinctive music.” Hearing them perform the anthemic earworm melodies of “Soyons les plus beaux”, “Ayan filé” and “Danser sur un volcan”, it does indeed seems a fitting musical and cultural partnership.

“I prefer playing in the UK, generally. In France, it feels like there’s a real theatrical side to music which I don’t really like – I don’t feel connected to it. It feels like bands need to build a persona, some kind of comic strip character. I haven’t really played that game very well.”

No need for a persona here – Marry is already Peter Pan incarnate, with a sprite-like energy, adventuring in foreign lands with his Lost Boys, and imbuing these ancient African songs with his own youthful artistry. Their performance was diverse, compelling, and fun – a true gift from François and la Francophonie.

David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival continues until Sunday 30 August.

Meltdown Day 8: Director Young Jean Lee on ‘We’re Gonna Die’

150827_We're_Gonna_DieYoung Jean Lee is an inventor extraordinaire. After starting her own theatre company in 2003, Lee created numerous pieces of avant-garde theatre that dealt with themes of identity politics, including her Untitled Feminist Show and Straight White Men. For her musical performance We’re Gonna Die, which she brings to Meltdown Festival this week, Lee extended her interest in identity politics to consider ideas of mortality, suffering and navigating life’s unexpected turbulence. Performing with her band Future Wife, Lee compiled an album of songs with titles such as ‘Lullaby For The Miserable’ and ‘No Comfort For The Lonely’ (think downbeat Belle & Sebastian and you get a rough idea of their sound) and monologues read by artists such as Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock of Beastie Boys fame) and David Byrne, among others. Byrne will take to the stage to perform with the band for the show’s three-day run at Meltdown Festival.

The album We’re Gonna Die is fascinating, heartbreaking and some of the monologues moved me to tears. Young Jean Lee’s project doesn’t hold the answers for how to cope with grief, but by the same token she manages to create something which, through its bleakness, manages to be life-affirming, even funny, perhaps because of its brutal honesty. I am very excited to experience ‘We’re Gonna Die’ as a live performance and witness the genius of Young Jean Lee first hand. It’s a piece that comes with recommendation from the late, great Lou Reed and if that isn’t enough to tempt you, then I don’t know what is!

Along with fellow Meltdown Music Journalist Honor, I had a quick Q & A session with Young Jean Lee ahead of her set:

How did the collaboration with David Byrne come about?

David saw the show twice in New York, and asked us to bring it to Meltdown. I asked if he could help us find a singer to sing the songs (secretly hoping he would do it) and then he did offer!

You previously stated (in The New Yorker), ‘I’ve found the only way to make theatre that gets the audience thinking is when I feel uncomfortable making it.’ Does that apply to We’re Gonna Die?

It applies to this show more than any other show I’ve ever made, since I’m not a performer and hate performing. When coming up with the idea for the show, I asked myself, “What would be the worst form of performance I could inflict upon myself?” And the answer was: “A one-person cabaret show with singing and dancing.” But for this show I’m cheating – I’m not singing, so I’m much less uncomfortable. 

Tell us about the show, and your reason for tackling such a difficult topic?

When my father died, a few years before I made this show, I felt very isolated in my pain, and I wanted to make a show that would comfort other people when they were feeling that way. The concept behind the show is one that any ordinary person should be able to perform, because it’s about all the terrible but ordinary things that happen to everyone. All the songs and stories are about heartbreak, loneliness, ageing, sickness, and death, but the stories are funny and the songs upbeat.

With We’re Gonna Die you recorded an album of songs and monologues. Why did you decide to make it a musical performance as opposed to a piece of theatre?

I think music is the ultimate comforting thing. The themes are so dark, but the show itself is entertaining and funny, so the music allows the themes to stick with audience members, in a comforting rather than traumatising way.

Do you have one piece of advice for young playwrights or film-makers?

My one piece of advice would be to become friends with other artists whose work you admire. Community is everything.   

We’re Gonna Die is on Thursday 27 to 30 August at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Buy tickets here.

Meltdown Day 7: the surreal charms of Bling Ya Bike and 64 horns

 

John Luther Adams - Across the Distance. Photo credit: Victor Frankowski

John Luther Adams – Across the Distance. Photo credit: Victor Frankowski

Max Caffyn-Parsons reports  David Byrne’s Meltdown has entered its second week and what an exciting experience it has been so far. As someone who’s passionate about music and writing, it still feels surreal that I’ve been able to attend concerts and events curated by such an inspirational artist. Until a few months ago I could only have dreamt about an opportunity like this.

The Meltdown Media young journalists have been able to attend and write about the concerts and range of events that have been put on following their six-session course. These performances from the Meltdown artists have been unique experiences and their art, both in the studio and on-stage, is truly distinctive..

These range from the enchanting flamenco singer, Estrella Morente, and the intriguing and multi-talented Benjamin Clementine, to Atomic Bomb, who brought the creations of William Onyeabor to life in the Royal Festival Hall by establishing a vibrant atmosphere of funky flavours and eccentricity. Not even three songs into the show and everybody was on their feet and dancing. The venue exploded like an atomic bomb, and this was even before David Byrne himself came on stage. It has been hailed as a winner by audiences and critics alike, receiving five-star reviews from the Telegraph, the Independent and the Times.

Bling Ya Bike workshop. Photo credit: Victor Frankowski

Bling Ya Bike workshop. Photo credit: Victor Frankowski

Yesterday also demonstrated the eclecticism of the Meltdown events. This included Bling Ya Bike, where people could customise their dream cycling machine, and a 64-horn ensemble performance led by John Luther Adams (see review below). Another daytime event happening today is Collect and Create, a workshop that will take young people on a scavenger hunt adventure to discover beauty in everyday objects.

Tonight sees a double bill from music and visual artist, Lonnie Holley, and Hot Chip frontman, Alexis Taylor, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Plus, on Tuesday there will be a performance from the Anglo-French new wave band, Francois & the Atlas Mountains.

I hope that this forthcoming week of Meltdown will be as sensational as the first and I look forward to further blog posts from the Meltdown Media journalists.

Yesterday’s review: Across the Distance by John Luther Adams

by Francesca Nunn

John Luther Adams with the 64 Horn Players

John Luther Adams with the 64 Horn Players. Photo credit: Pete Woodhead

Minutes before the London premiere of Across the Distance, American contemporary classical composer John Luther Adams is at the window of the Clore Ballroom in the Southbank Centre, hands clasped behind his back, gazing up at the murky sky. I can imagine what he must be thinking – “British weather…” But as an artist who takes inspiration from the power and sublimity of nature, I can’t imagine there is much malice behind this thought.

The concept of Across the Distance is simple: a new ‘surround sound’-style sonic experience played by 64 horn players – amateurs from across the UK, the youngest being just nine years old, led by professionals from the London Sinfonietta – all playing in close proximity to begin with, then gradually breaking off and moving away into the surroundings. The audience are encouraged to wander around, and experience the sound from different positions. The first of two performances, a work that was originally written to be performed outdoors, was chased inside by torrential rain.

But we have the rain to thank for the aural experience of the musical conversation in Adams’s piece – one group stationed on the Green staircase poses an unresolved arpeggio of a question, the next group in front of the bar responds with another, and so on until the swelling of brass tones have permeated into every corner of the foyer. As part of the audience, we were swimming in the music. But knowing that Adams writes for specific locations, from Alaska to the Okefenokee Swamp, what we gained in fuller sounds, we lost in authentic geographical experience.

One of the horn players. Photo credit: Pete Woodhead

One of the horn players. Photo credit: Pete Woodhead

A few hours later, there is glorious sunshine on the South Bank for the second performance of the day. Adams, his musicians, and the audience are roaming the Jubilee Gardens, soaking in the atmosphere and the vitamin D. For its second performance, the piece has taken on a new character, now accompanied by birdsong, the constant hum of distant traffic and general chatter in the shadow of London’s biggest tourist attraction. The Last Post; a  bugle call remembering lost nature in a sea of concrete, and pollution, and smartphone ringtones. Close your eyes, tune your ears to the music, and the Wagnerian ebb and flow of motifs awaken a powerful sense of place, a return to simplicity – according to Adams, the essence of existence.

I asked the artist afterwards if he had any thoughts on the day’s performances. “As a composer, I like to hear as much sound as possible, so in that respect, inside was better, but the experience out here was quite something too.” Diplomatically, he adds: “I guess I liked both.”