Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 25 May 2011

John Cale Reached Heady Musical Heights As He Mused On Travel & Homecoming @ Brighton Festival

I'm not sure how you can squeeze a lifetime of musical genius into one evening's performance, but that's what John Cale managed at Dome Brighton.
John Cale Pic by Andy Sturmey

In the closing week of the Brighton Festival, the singer/songwriter/composer and founding member of the Velvet Underground rocked the Concert Hall with his band for an exclusive gig: Émigré/Lost & Found.

As you may have guessed from the name, the theme of the show was exile and home – and for this Cale had drawn together an emotive collection of pieces focussing on travel and homecoming.



Along with his own band, Cale brought with him the Heritage Orchestra String Quartet, to provide a greater depth to the orchestral numbers.

As a classical viola player himself, it's not hard to see why the strings are so crucial to the music he creates.

The music soared from the heady heights of Paris 1919 to the whispering melancholy of Amsterdam, taking in an eclectic mix of styles and genres along the way.



If you don't know any of Cale's work, it's hard to pigeonhole him into any category, as he incorporates everything from neo-classical to guitar-driven rock and almost everything in-between. I doubt many music lovers would find much to dislike here.

The atmosphere of the gig is warm and the audience receptive to this rather quiet and unassuming legend.

Cale doesn't say much, preferring to let the music do the talking. When the lead guitarist's string breaks, one man in the crowd is heard to call out "Talk to us, John!" – but Cale remains quietly focussed until the music resumes a few moments later.

After just 80 minutes – there was no warm-up act – Cale says goodnight, much to the dismay of the people around me. Thankfully, he does come back for an encore, though I think many in the audience would have liked much more than that.


The Brighton Festival continues until Sunday 29th May. See www.brightonfestival.org for more info.


by: Ellie Bennett




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