Love This Giant comes to burn down the Roundhouse
michael baggs
11:50 28th August 2013

 

"I'd just like to say a huge thank you to David Byrne, just for being David Byrne," says Annie Clarke of St Vincent. "He's brought so much more joy to this world." As far as hero worship goes, The Roundhouse feels like a temple this evening. 

But there's much more than that at play. This is not a Talking Heads tribute show and the spotlight is not firmly upon Byrne. Dividing the setlist between his own tracks, Talking Heads classics, cuts from Annie Clarke's astounding records and a fair representation of their stunning joint record, Love This Giant, tonight's show is all about collaboration and a multi-layered experience. 

Considering that many artists of his age and standing simply roll out the greatest hits into retirement, it's impressive that Byrne still has the drive and the vision to pull off something as enthralling as this  - let alone share his stage with someone. But therein lies the beauty of tonight's performance. The marriage of their minds in opener 'Who' shows that creatively, you'd struggle to find two more kindred spirits. Seeing them share vocal duties on the Byrne classic 'Strange Overtones' and St Vincent's hypnotising 'Marrow' only further emphasises this further. 

In fact, the manner in which Byrne stands aside, dances or lays upon the floor for the audience to lap up St Vincent's solo material really does create the impression that he's passing the baton - and there's no better successor to the art-rock throne than Annie Clarke. 

True highlights of the evening include the Love This Giant band breathing a whole new life intothe life-affirming 'This Must Be The Place', an ecstatically envigorated and horn-driven rendition of 'Lazy' and St Vincent's devious little bastard of an earworm that is 'Cruel'. 

But of course, the multi-sensory carnival of sheer awesomeness that comes with 'Burning Down The House' marks the point when tonight came one of the best gigs that London has seen this year. 

The normally reserved Roundhouse has probably never heard such deafening 'whoops' of adoration or thundering foot-stomping from the stalls to call for the encore and mind-blowing outro of 'Road To Nowhere'. With an army of brass and a simple backdrop, the Love This Giant live show is a true feast for the senses. Expertly choreographed movements stand before dazzling silhouettes as St Vincent jerks to her firecracker guitar work and Byrne dances like a man possessed. 

That's what Love This Giant is all about: A richness of sound, a totality of experience and a fulfilment of imagination. In short: a complete joy. 

David Byrne and St Vincent played:
1. Who
2. Weekend in the Dust
3. Save Me From What I Want (St. Vincent)
4. Strange Overtones (Brian Eno & David Byrne)
5. I Am an Ape
6. Marrow (St. Vincent)
7. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) (Talking Heads)
8. The Forest Awakes
9. Ice Age
10. Like Humans Do (David Byrne)
11. Lightning
12. Wild Wild Life (Talking Heads cover)
13. Cheerleader (St. Vincent)
14. Lazy (David Byrne)
15. I Should Watch TV
16. Northern Lights (St. Vincent)
17. The One Who Broke Your Heart
18. Outside of Space and Time
Encore:
19. Cruel (St. Vincent)
20. Burning Down the House (Talking Heads)
Encore 2:
21. The Party (St. Vincent)
22. Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads)

Below - Photos: David Byrne and St Vincent bring Love This Giant to London