Forty-six year old Damon Albarn is nothing like the snarky loudmouth Blur frontman he once was. Casually dressed and in good spirits, Albarn proceeded to entertain the audience with an eclectic collection of songs from his time playing with Blur, The Good, the Bad & the Queen and Gorillaz along with new tracks. He is currently touring to promote his new album Everyday Robots, which is his first solo album after all these years, shockingly enough.
Albarn has dabbled in many genres, chief among them hip-hop and electronica, but the show predominantly featured the quieter, crooning version of Albarn which is arguably the most complex and affecting side of the artist. Albarn has mastered the art of balladry and it is in songs like Out of Time and new track Hollow Ponds where he truly shined. That is not to say that the louder moments were lackluster: backed by the highly game The Heavy Seas that added a bassy rock vibe to the proceedings, Albarn swiftly moved onstage trying to connect with everyone in the audience during the ‘extroverted’ tracks and kept urging the crowd to get wilder.
A gospel choir and guest rapper M.anifest rounded out the show and made for an accomplished 90 minutes. Albarn is a multifaceted musician but it seems like the softer, vulnerable phase he is in now is the one that suits him best.
Review by Eli Lewy
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.