Went to see Matthew Herbert and his apron-clad ‘brigade’ perform Plat du Jour at the Barbican on Monday night. Unfortunately I couldn’t shake the feeling that Herbert and co were a little bored by the idea of a last London performance (they delayed the start for a few minutes trying to work out if they could do the whole thing in reverse, just to make it more interesting for themselves) and his slightly irritating assumption that most of the audience had seen it before seemed like a reason not to try too hard.
Their decision to pre-prepare many of the samples in order ‘to pick up the pace’ a bit was probably good for those who had previously been subjected to five-minute gaps between tracks, though I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed to not to see ‘Lenka Clayton’s great films about giant vegetables and lobster-eating competitions’ or Dani (Siciliano, Herbert’s wife), who didn’t make it in time to sing her vocals on ‘Celebrity’.
That said, the whole thing really was a compelling feast for all the senses, even if the accompanying smells prepared by two on-stage ‘chefs’ and fanned towards us were understandably a little heavy on the garlic and burnt toast. And being one of hundreds of people each simultaneously biting a perfect little Red Pippin at the start of ‘An Apple A Day…’ was fun, tasty and surprisingly loud!
Mugison’s wild, energetic opening set was hugely entertaining, especially for me when I was roped on stage from the front row to help project a video of his girlfriend onto his guitar so they could sing a duet together. ‘Mugi’ is apparently a big star in his native Iceland and his new album ‘Mugimama – is this monkey music’ is released in the UK on Herbert’s Accidental Records, who like to describe him as “a troubadour for the electronic age”, which seems apt.