Woodkid at the Roundhouse, NW1 David Sinclair, The Times May 15 2013 ★★★★ This was an eye-opener, more a symphony of sound and light than a regular gig. Woodkid is the nom de guerre of the French music video director Yoann Lemoine, whose portfolio includes eye-catching promos for songs by Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Drake & Rihanna. As a composer he has become known for his contributions to the soundtracks of films and video games and he brought a similar sense of majestic, hyper-real drama to his stage show as Woodkid. While a succession of bold images — cathedral arches, volcanic landscapes, expanding fractal shapes — played out on a screen at the back, the musicians performed amid a monochrome light show so fierce at times that it left the retinas aching. With a five-piece string section and three-piece horn sections providing the core musical sound — more a backing orchestra than a band — Woodkid embarked on a musical journey that incorporated all of the songs on his album The Golden Age. Two percussionists hammered out tattoos on tom toms suspended sideways-on at shoulder height, while a keyboard player and a person on “machines” added the final textures to a grand sea of sound that combined tribal rhythms with ornate neo-symphonic arrangements. Sailing above all this was the strangely gentle voice of Woodkid, singing tales of ships setting off for battle on distant shores in a wistful tone that sounded like a Gallic version of Antony Hegarty. “After all I drifted ashore/ Through the streams of oceans/ Whispers wasted in the sand,” Woodkid sang in I Love You. The percussionists went into overdrive while sinister clouds of black gunpowder smoke exploded on the screen during Conquest of Spaces, which was followed by the fast, galloping climax of The Great Escape. As the encores drew towards a close, a lone horn sounded The Last Post and the battlefield cleared, leaving the densely packed audience entranced, uplifted and slightly stunned.
Available online at: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/music/livereviews/article3765709.ece?CMP=OTH-gnwsstandard-2013_05_15