Very few venues can rival an In The Round gig at the Roundhouse for
sheer class and intimacy of setting.
Tonight, Keaton Henson bares his considerably tortured soul whilst
seated at a grand piano and alongside a black-clad string
While the likes of ‘You’ and ‘Teach Me’ are typically moving, his
indie-classical instrumental pieces are really the soaring highlight of this
show; exquisitely beautiful
piano and string compositions that almost
shimmer with an enveloping richness, an ancient and wordless
transcendence of the everyday.
During ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ the stage fills with bloodred light, the pillars become a murdered skeleton, and Henson
sings of the envy of a lost love’s new lover,
before a final, powerful
cover of ‘Halelujah’ prompts a standing ovation.
It appears to be Alex G cosplay night, but luckily the indie slacker who we’ve all come to see is holding a guitar, so you can just about tell him apart from the horde of ardent fanboys who surround the stage.
The night gets off to a somewhat freewheeling start, with ‘Boy’ and ‘Sorry’ dragging their feet, while the subtly dark ‘Kute’ ends up feeling ramshackle. But incoherence soon dissipates into neatly bookended highlights like
‘Bug’/‘Salt’ and ‘Forever’/’Cards’.
Beyond the songs, G’s stage patter veers between playful (a freestyle rap
about his love of currywurst and Brighton) to antagonistic
(shouting “Keep quiet you fuckers!”) in an attempt to get the boisterous crowd in-check. But it’s mostly done with a smile and,
as he closes with an audience request, it’s hard not to get swept up in the collective affection for this millennial troubadour.
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