Hal Wilner at the RFH

When I heard that Jarvis Cocker was curating this year’s Meltdown festival at the South Bank Centre, I got a little excited. Meltdown always throws up some interesting performances and collaborations, and although I usually manage to miss the entire caboodle, when I have made it along to the South Bank, it’s always been worth it: The Legendary Stardust Cowboy (performing as part of David Bowie’s Meltdown) was mindblowing (although Daniel Johnston, on the same bill, was much less so); Patti Smith’s Songs of Innocence was an extravaganze.

There are a few bands on Jarvis’s bill I would like to see – Motörhead would be nice (last saw them in 1989), Iggy and the Stooges even nicer (never seem ’em), and although I’ve already seen Forced Entertainment’s Bloody Mess, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it again (although I imagine Gill would).

But generally speaking, it’s the collaborations and one-offs which make Meltdown special. And this year, the most special of these is without a doubt Hal Wilner’s Forest of No Return – an interpretation of the vintage Disney songbook. For a long time, Wilner’s Weird Nightmare, Meditations on Mingus was among my favourite albums, and I also love his work with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, and his tribute to Kurt Weill. Wilner always manages to put together incredibly disparate and interesting groups of musicians, along with downright bizarre arrangements, and to coax something interesting out of them. So his take on Disney is surely not to be missed.

Unfortunately, I am completely skint (no. Completely.), I won’t be in London at the time and certainly can’t afford the £22.50+ ticket price. But if you are in London and you can afford it, you should go.

5 thoughts on “Hal Wilner at the RFH

  1. Does Cocker pick the bands himself, like Thurston Moore at ATP last year? Cos when I saw Sunn O))) on the bill I thought wow he’s losing it. He can be excused for Motorhead as they are part of the institution and he’s really only taking the piss…like Max Bygraves headlining Glastobury…isn’t he?

  2. Yup, he’s the curator, picks everything himself. I’ve no idea who Sunn O))) are – will check them out – but as for Motörhead – well, they may be part of the institution now, but he’s right in saying that they’re “one of the most innovative bands in metal” – they changed the face of music.

    Personally I thought David Bowie was taking the piss with Daniel Johnston, he was painfully awful (as opposed to the Ledge, who was wonderfully, transcendentally awful), but a lot of people there seemed to really like him, so I guess there’s no accounting for tastes.

  3. Cool. The loudest thing I ever witnessed was Caspar Brötzmann Massakker at the Garage in Islington. 13-odd years later, my ears are still ringing. Probably doesn’t help that I spent most of the evening sitting in front of a speaker stack 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *