José González with The String Theory at the Royal Festival Hall
González proves his brilliance and skill as a musician in an evening of inventive and mesmeric music, in a collaboration with the experimental collective, The String Theory. The modern sound of the orchestra prevents the Swedish indie folk songwriter from becoming yet another singer who uses an ensemble to create pseudo-balladic-pop tones. González has a distinctive voice, which at no point is lost in the elaborate string arrangements or percussion, and with The String Theory’s input few of the songs sound like the original until he begins to sing.
There are rapturously well conducted moments, such as with Down on the Line, where the strings and gold flashing lights complement González’s vocals. His voice melts through the crowd and is balanced by the piercing strings, which charm concertgoers into a hypnotic stupor. Certain songs are spectacularly performed: the cover of Teardrop sounds utterly different to Massive Attack’s original and is a testament to both the singer’s and The String Theory’s talents.
On tracks such as The Forrest, performed unaccompanied, there is a charged and expressive power ensuing from the lone voice on the stage. This balance between solo renditions and numbers with the full orchestra makes the concert impressive and equally progressive. González captures all the attention whenever he sings even with The String Theory surrounding him. Nackt, the conductor, is an equally exciting presence on the stage. His passion for the music moves the audience – literally when he conducts them to clap in time. At one point he uses a hoover, which complements the song perfectly; the combination of electronic everyday sounds and the classical string arrangements is at no point jarring, but rather modernises the classical music. It feels as though one is watching something new and equally as if the musicians are pushing themselves and their instruments to the extreme, creating the sounds with a passion that is present in the intense emotion of González’s voice.
This collaboration has produced one of the most inventive and awe-inspiring live performances that can be seen; the instrumentalists revel in the theatricality and the inventive potential of music. This partnership delivers and is sublime.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about José González and future events visit here.
For further information about The String Theory and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Teardrop here: