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Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (live at The Barbican)

London 7 April 8018

Stranger ThingsThe Netfix TV series Stranger Things has been the go-to visual experience for all things retro 80s in the last couple of years. Set in the town of Hawkins, various supernatural and sci-fi events set off the young protagonists in the search for the truth.

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SunnO))) / Hildur Guðnadóttir (live at Convergence)

The Barbican, London 21 March 2017

SunnO))) live at Convergence 2017The tickets. We purchased them, they came. Who are they? Explorers in the further reaches of experience — demons to some, angels to others. We bought the tickets, they came. Now we must come with them and taste their pleasures.

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The Master Musicians of Jajouka (live at The Barbican)

Milton Court Theatre, London 29 September 2016

Master Musicians Of Jajouka live September 2016A crucial international fixture, and Team Freq is in utter disarray: star striker Rodham-Heaps out of action, midfield playmaker Nickells injured (his silky skills laid low after a night of drinking at Acid Mothers Temple), and others all unavailable for selection. And so, in a bold decision, the Freqmanager1 decides to bring yours truly off the subs bench and into the starting line-up. Taking my inspiration from Ole ‘Super-Sub’ Solskjaer, my aim is to come on and change the course of the game decisively.

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Max Richter (live at The Barbican)

London 17 May 2016

This is the first of two sold-out shows for Max Richter at The Barbican and there is a buzz around the audience about how two beautiful and intense albums will translate live. For starters this is no rock’n’roll concert, so there is no-one viewing the entire gig down their phone, in fact no one even takes a photo, which was quite wonderful. The mood in the hall has a kind of beautiful, tranquil quality about it, as if people don’t want to make too much noise before the performance even starts.

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Michael Gira / Thurston Moore / Laura Cannell (live at Saisonscape)

The Barbican, London 30 March 2016

Saisonscape March 2016Spring is sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder what this thing at The Barbican is? Well wonder no more; it’s called Saisonscape, and it’s a series of concerts which have been organised by Art Assembly‘s Julia Dempsey to celebrate the idea of growth, renewal and the creation of new life in an artistic context. That all sounds quite heavy, but for tonight’s concert she’s chosen musicians who play set pieces but allow themselves room for improvisation to illustrate the theme.

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Terry Riley (live at Station to Station)

The Barbican, London 18 July 2015

“My name’s Terry Riley, I’ll be here all week”. It would be nice to think that at some stage over the previous weekend, America’s great composer actually expressed his forthcoming residency in exactly this way. For in order to celebrate his eightieth birthday, El Tel (as doubtless everyone calls him), has spent the last seven days encamped here as part of the Barbican’s Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening event.

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Boredoms (live at Station to Station)

Boredoms live at Station to Station 2015The Barbican, London 27 June 2015

88 cymbal beaters, five drummers, four bassists, four guitarists and one EYƎ, an ensemble that literally dwarfed the stage bathed in super-real colours. Right from the start this felt more like a ritual than a show — an invocation even. From its early referential whisperings it held you in its meditative grip, then flung your expectations wide open on colossal tidal pulls, propelled further by EYƎ and Yoshimi’s invocation-like chanting.

Circles within circles pulsating inward/outward, like a ceremonial henge splashed in roaring schisms and driven tribals. A hissy tide that eroded your senses in chattering collateral. At times it felt like you were riding the massive bow wave of some scaly Kraken, or a radiating, sizzling shoal of shape-shifting piranhas.

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Frizzi 2 Fulci (live at The Barbican)

London 31 October 2014

It’s Halloween and the streets are bustling with people dressed as various horror icons and kids trick or treating on their neighbours. Revelling in the air of spookiness, I’m heading out to the concrete Logan’s Run-looking Barbican Centre to witness a horror icon, the wonderful Fabio Frizzi. The venue is packed with horror film aficionados from what sounds like all over Europe. Most wear t-shirts showing their favourite slice of gore portrayed on the front, eagerly awaiting the return to the stage (it was last Halloween that Fabio was over) of the mæstro of nightmares.

Frizzi2Fulci The Barbican October 2014The band enter the stage first and there’s quite a few of them, including two keyboard players and a string section. A rousing cheer

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The Residents (live at The Barbican)

18 May 2013

Residents at The Barbican 2013A rare London appearance from The Residents, stopping off at The Barbican on their Wonder of Weird 40th anniversary tour. The show is presented as a kind of unreliable ‘history of our band’, and begins with a short film, a collection of excerpts from old (and formidably strange) videos and live performances. This does a fine job of encapsulating their appeal and setting the scene, and this often somewhat sterile venue is crackling with anticipation by the time the group take to the stage.

Four decades into one of the longest and strangest trips ever undertaken, the anonymous band have assumed a new disguise, perhaps their most ingenious yet: tonight The Residents present themselves as a fictitious band: a trio called, you guessed

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The Necks (live at The Barbican)

The Necks at The Barbican Theatre The Barbican Theatre, London 26 June 2010

The Necks have had a pretty good upswing in their fortunes with London performances over the last few years, with sold-out runs of nights at The Vortex in Dalston so successful they added in extra shows late into the night, followed up by a triumphantly immense performance in the ecclesiastically-charged setting of the Union Chapel in May 2009. Tonight’s set finds them moving further into the upper echelons of the capital’s establishment music scene by bringing their special brand of minimal-maximal improvisation to the Barbican Theatre, the smaller space in the Barbican arts centre – which is by any other standards a huge space where a pin dropped reverberates and a coughing audience member resonates into the auditorium.

So when Chris Abrahams starts things

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Mouse on Mars/Coil/Plaid (live)

Plaid's video showThe Barbican, London 27 April 2002

Part of the Only Connect series of live events, tonight was self-described thus: “The history of computer games has also been a parallel history of the development of electronic music . . . this evening’s performances are less illustrations of these sounds and more works informed by this history.”

Plaid (bottom right, tiny....)Well, Plaid set the scene well. They lived up to the computer games connection by serving up music that didn’t seem substantial enough to survive as anything worthwhile without their wonderful visuals. The video projection pulses as it tracks around a space filled with cubes stretching off into the distance, some pulsing yellow in time with the zap-gun beeps and beats; iron girders touch across a shimmering backdrop to create spinning clusters of spokes whose rotations smoothly contrast with the chaos about

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Yo La Tengo: The Sounds Of Science (live)

Featuring the films of Jean Painleve (1902-1989) Only Connect @ The Barbican, London 20 April 2002

Although Yo La Tengo are most often described in terms of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and Can, you only have to take a look at a setlist from one of their annual fund raising “request” shows to see just how diverse their influences and abilities really are. Sun Ra‘s “Rocket No.9” might sit alongside a Yiddish folk song, only in turn to be followed by a Yes track, a Neil Diamond number, a Ramones tune played in the style of a Taco-Bell commercial, a Wire and a Soft Boys song, or perhaps the theme from Fellini‘s

Tonight, as part of The Barbican’s Only Connect season, they provide the soundtrack to eight short films by Man Ray and Luis Buñuel contemporary, Jean Painleve. Painleve’s films of sea urchins, jelly fish, sea horses, octopi

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Wesley Willis (live)

The Barbican Centre, LondonWesley Willis/Wes-ley Willis/Rocks a snow-leopard's ass 22 March 2001

“This guy played at The Barbican. About 200 people watched the show. The jam session was awesome. It rocked a snow leopard’s ass. The crowd roared like a lion. WES-LEY WILLIS, WES-LEY WILLIS, WES-LEY WILLIS, WES-LEY WILLIS. Rock over London, rock over” – sorry, is that not enough? Bollocks.

Wesley's bookBut, fucking hell, man, Wesley Willis. Live and direct, in the flesh, huge behind a synth tastefully decorated with an ultra-rare Jack Skellington (from The Nightmare Before Christmas) doll, belting through a set including “Saddam Hussein”, “Rock’n’Roll MacDonald’s”, “Suck A Big Gorilla’s Dick” and (I think) “Cut the Mullet” (always good tonsurial advice, it must be said. Unless you’re Nick Cave, but then few people are. Well, one, to be strictly accurate.) A crowd collectively in

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