Talk talking heads
A special celebration of Talk Talk and Mark Hollis at the Southbank Centre will feature musicians including Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor, Joan As Police Woman and Orlando Weeks
07 November, 2019 — By Róisín Gadelrab
Orlando Weeks will play at Talk Talk tribute
AS the Southbank Centre prepares for an all-star celebration of Talk Talk and frontman Mark Hollis, who died earlier this year, we thought it was about time to pay a little attention to what is being offered at the cultural centre.
Teaming up with Eat Your Own Ears, it is hosting a one-off night paying tribute to the pioneering and hugely influential 1980s British band and their late frontman, at Royal Festival Hall on November 26.
A Celebration of Talk Talk and Mark Hollis brings founding member of Talk Talk, Simon Brenner, together with The Spirit of Talk Talk band, which includes former members Jeep Hook, Martin Ditcham and Rupert Black, alongside David Rhodes, Ian Curnow and Johnny Turnbull, and guest bassist John McKenzie.
With musical direction from songwriter and past Hollis collaborator Phil Ramocon, the night will bring together an eclectic line-up of special guests to perform songs from across the band’s catalogue, including their groundbreaking final records, Spirit of Eden (1988) and Laughing Stock (1991), neither of which have ever been performed live.
Special guests announced to date include: Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor; singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hayden Thorpe, formerly of the indie pop band Wild Beasts; progressive pop singer, songwriter, musician, producer and label owner Jane Weaver; American musician, singer-songwriter and producer Joan Wasser, aka Joan As Police Woman; Andy Bell and Mark Gardener, founding members and songwriters of Ride; My Brightest Diamond, the project of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shara Nova; former Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks; Sophie Barker, formerly of ambient heavyweights Zero 7; Tim Burgess, best known as the lead singer of The Charlatans, and Turin Brakes.
Taylor said: “Mark Hollis and Talk Talk were masters of creating atmosphere, drama and tension on beautiful-sounding, original, expansive and, sometimes, very sparse recordings.
“They carried on a tradition started by the likes of Can and Miles Davis, in terms of editing down long takes of improvisation to create masterpieces that live on forever as long-playing records.
“It will be an honour to pay tribute to their music and share the stage with some of the musicians involved in making these wonderful recordings.”
The event coincides with the release of The Spirit of Talk Talk, a full colour book celebrating the music and art of the celebrated outfit, compiled by Toby Benjamin.
The book includes a preface by Brenner, contributions and tributes from musicians, friends and fans, plus a heartfelt afterword honouring founder and leader Hollis.
The book will be available for purchase on the night.
Other events coming up at the Southbank Centre include:
Ólafur Arnalds presents: OPIA Ft. Kiasmos, Vaal, Grandbrothers, Rhye, Poppy Ackroyd, Hogni & Ensemble, Hania Rani and Josin.
BAFTA award-winning Icelandic composer and producer Arnalds presents his new project OPIA and takes over the 17-acre Southbank Centre site, filling every one of the world-class venues with a hand-picked line-up of artists, friends and collaborators.
The first half of the evening (6-11pm) includes performances from Arnalds himself, Grandbrothers, Rhye, Poppy Ackroyd, Hogni & Ensemble, Hania Rani and Josin before a special OPIA Lates (10.30pm-2am) features live and DJ sets from Kiasmos, Vaal and Rhye Ambient Improvisation + Special Guests. Wristband tickets allow audiences to access every artist across the venue.
Concrete Lates: Theon Cross, DJ Spinna, Donna Leake (10.30pm). A collaboration with Boiler Room and EFG London Jazz Festival connects the dots between club culture and contemporary jazz.
Theon Cross – tuba player, composer and key member of UK jazz renegades Sons of Kemet – performs with a full live band, his style reflecting London’s vast musical underground scene, including grime, dub, soca, and other sounds from the Afro-Carribean diaspora.
Joining Cross are DJ Spinna, who cut his teeth as a producer for lyrical giants including Eminem, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, and one of London’s most acclaimed selectors, Donna Leake.