I almost considered taking Damien Rice up on the offer he made about a quarter of the way into his Brixton Academy gig on Saturday night. It had been a strangely dull gig up to that point, and this was the first thing he actually said to us, as yet another song ended in protracted feedback. At that point, I hadn’t noticed anyone talking–later on he said that there were probably a lot of “new” people here, and that if this was what being popular meant, he’d rather play somewhere smaller next time, so maybe he’s used to some kind of reverential silence at his gigs, or perhaps we weren’t applauding quite vigorously enough–but after he had made a big deal out of it, it became noticeable that he had completely lost the back third of the crowd. Perhaps asking your audience to leave, and then telling them you don’t want them there, isn’t the best way to win over the crowd.
The frustrating thing was that there were flashes of brilliance to his performance, but for every good five minutes, we had to stand (quietly) through twenty minutes of dull, dreary rubbish.
The best part of the whole gig was when his cellist came back between the main set and the encore to sing and play a stunning solo performance of Seven Nation Army on her cello.
She got the biggest cheer of the night, naturally.