An excellent night with good friends at the Barbican Centre, watching Gruff Rhys perform his latest album, Babelsberg, with the London Contemporary Orchestra. I’ve seen Gruff Rhys a few times with the Super Furry Animals and solo (the American Interior show at the Southbank being a highlight), and he always brings something new and special to the show. This time the orchestration really brought the new songs to life and shone extra light on his melodies; I hope I can catch him again soon and look forward to seeing whatever he does next.
To the O2 Arena down the road on Greenwich Peninsula on a warm and airless evening, for Neil Young and his new band. The Promise of the Real might have the most terrible of terrible band names, but they did a great job of interpreting the different styles of NY’s various bands and musical phases. A surprising tour through the back catalogue, with a very different set from the last time I saw him at this venue, including some Greatest Hits (Heart of Gold), mid-90’s songs that I’d forgotten about entirely (Western Hero), two off On The Beach – particularly good – plus If I Could Have Her Tonight which had apparently been played the previous night in Leeds for the first time since 1968. His singing was strong and his guitar playing and tone – particularly with his Gretsch – was ace and uplifting.
*obligatory Long May He Run conclusion*