Maximum Black Festival

Stick it to the man. When Owen Pallett found one of his songs had been gratuitously plagiarised in theme music for an advert for the Viennese Public Utility company what did he do? Sue? No way – he got them to pay for three festival nights, one in London, one in Berlin and one in Vienna, so that good people of these three nations could be filled with joy at the resplendent sound of beautiful music.
Well some of it was beautiful – the stuff by Stephen O Malley and Alexander Tucker Duo was frankly the most overindulgently, self-absorbed half an hour of hippy transcendental out of tune strumming I’ve ever been subjected to in my life. It seems most of the audience in Kentish Town’s Forum agreed since they started to clap halfway through in a terribly British attempt to get them off the stage so that we could just please listen to Owen.
He was worth waiting for.
His voice is so smooth and sublime and the way he orchestrates his pieces demonstrates his accomplishment on the violin without being at all pretentious. What I loved is that the parts his songs that always make me smile with anticipation also made him smile. For example, he went straight from Hey Dad into the CN Tower and burst into a full beaming grin as he looped the violin riffs. It was joyous. His music is so full of joy and you really get a sense of the pleasure that he gains from playing, from singing. Check out Blogotheque for a sense of what I’m talking about and a couple of tracks.
(By the way, blogotheque is one of the cooler websites for music I’ve come across although it does make it tricky that everything is in French – have a look at some of the other people featured on there)
He didn’t play and couldn’t really have played for long enough although he finished at midnight with This Lamb Sells Condos.
Ace on sticks.


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