Theatre in Wales

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Chrysta Bell continues to sparkle at Manchester International Festival

Whyte Horses, These New Puritans & Chrysta Bell

David Lynch , HOME, Manchester , July-13-19
Whyte Horses, These New Puritans & Chrysta Bell by David Lynch Prior to the second big Lynch inspired concert. This Manchester audience got a very special treat of having David Lynch live from Los Angles talking about Transcendental Mediation. With a panel of experts and artists, they all spoke of the benefits of TM and how it can change lives. Lynch was expectedly funny, wry and as always insightful. A lucky few got to ask him some questions, an opportunity I wish I had known about. Even just the sight of an ironing board in the backdrop in his studio was brought up, as he then turned the camera to show us a sowing machine. “I’m currently doing sowing work”, he tells us with that wonderful twang in his voice. Lynch cannot recommend TM more highly. He does it twice a day and knows how much it has helped him as an artist and a person. Battling my own anxiety and OCD at the moment, this is something I’m going to consider for my own personal betterment.

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The opening night of David Lynch presents at HOME in Manchester could not have been better. Just having these beautiful musicians on stage was enough to soon the most wild at heart. Though this would not be the only encounter, as we were blessed with two more mouth watering nights of musical delights.

On this second night, I found myself absorbed my the giant red curtains which lingered across the stage. So much of Lynch’s film work embraces live performance: cabaret, vaudeville, burlesque and more are infused into his instantly recognisable style. A band clearly inspired by the equine vision from Twin Peaks, Whyte Horses were our opening set, after another absorbing tableaux from Chrysta Bell, with wise words from Lynch. Whyte Horses look like they could easily be seen in The Roadhouse from Twin Peaks, wrapping up an episode as the credits “Starring Kyle MacLachlan” appear on screen. The blue hue lighting added to this effect, though I found myself wanting to enjoy this band, only to warm to them more as they went through their songs. They had a jolly charm and helped prove that this second night felt more like a gig per se then a concert. The three leading ladies had eternal charm which featured some super dance moves and harmonies of stellar commitment to the craft.

Chrysta Bell’s second set made for another marvellous encounter. You are so easily swept away but her stunning, rich voice thanks to the jolt of poetry from Lynch, proven in their years of collaboration together. The connection made with her band has been seen through the entire three nights, a highlight of the whole weekend. We get more solid guitar chords, etherial synths and the lighting shrouding this eternal singer in a vision of ecstasy. Two cosmic jesters who frequented the stage during the first half of the night, were an odd choice (even here), not really Lynchian, perhaps more Alice in Wonderland, who’s absurd dancing interrupted some songs. An annoying disruption to the proceedings by any standard. The audience also became restless during the segway between both acts, with a disco ball illumined with mystic synths played out for a little bit too long then we had hoped for.

These New Puritans ended with a supernova set, featuring David Bowie, some of their own cracking songs and some for the die hard Lynch fans, like myself in the audience. The combination of drums, vibraphone, saxophones, double bass and electronics was a heady mix at times an extraordinary sound world. Though their version of Sycamore Trees was only half the song, weird considering how brief it is anyway. In Heaven Everything Is Fine from Eraserhead a creepy and joyful rendition from this band of huge variety. The Pink Room from Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me was stunningly realised, perhaps some of the best music ever written by Angelo Badalamenti. Where The Trees Are On Fire made for a stirring end, a harsh wall of nosie and passion. I’d like to think Lynch heads were appeased with this set.

A third night of music was a stunning prospect…
Rating: 4 stars

David Lynch’s ‘My Head is Disconnected’ exhibition continues till 29th July 2019. A season of Lynch films will also feature.

Listen to Chrysta Bell on Radio 6 discing the Manchester International Festival.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0006n3v

Photo Credit: Chris Payne

Reviewed by: WeepingTudor

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