Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sound and Vision

When music and film usually come together, the latter is produced first and the soundtrack is created as a response to the visual imagery. In the case of Tindersticks' most recent offering, The Waiting Room, the opposite is the case. Having completed the recording of their eleventh studio album, the band commissioned a range of international directors to make short films, each using one of the album's tracks as inspiration. The result was that some editions of The Waiting Room came with a DVD of their work and the band's current tour, a string of dates around Europe, were billed as cine-concerts. One of those dates was part of the Brighton Festival where, on Sunday night at the Dome, Tindersticks performed the whole of the album against the stunning cinematic backdrop of the films.

Before the night at the movies began, they treated us to a short set of songs from previous albums. Ranging from 1995's She's Gone and Sleepy Song to Medicine from 2012, they demonstrated just how long Tindersticks have been chroniclers of lost and faded love. Stuart Staples' breathy croon is as impressive in a live setting as it is on record and the band, featuring original members Neil Fraser on keyboards and David Boulter on guitar, provided the trademark Tindersticks' sound of delicacy and restraint; it was only on 2008's Boobar Come Back To Me that the musical arrangement allowed for some free rein and the band cut loose.

After a twenty-minute interval, the group returned to the stage to a recording of The Waiting Room's opening track, Follow Me, and an accompanying film of light and shade made by Staples and his artist wife, Suzanne Osborne. The next hour was a dizzying mix of music and images with highlights in Were We Once Lovers? and Pierre Vinour's endless loop of urban traffic, and Gabraz and Sara Nao Tem Noame's film for We Are Dreamers! that juxtaposed a lone shovel-carrying female in a ballet with a giant earth-moving machine that was reminiscent of the famous footage of Tiananmen Square.

However, the evening's most startlingly beautiful pairing of sound and vision was Rosie Pedlow and Joe King's film of almost static Martin Parr-like gaudy coastal amusements with Hey Lucinda, Staples' album duet with, now deceased, Lhasa De Sela. With Staples taking both parts, the nagging refrain "our time is running out" fitted perfectly with the images of faded seaside glamour. With the cinematic experience ended, there was time enough for a trio of songs from the 2012 album, The Sometime Rain, to complete a spectacular evening.

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