Lightspeed Champion – Live review

11 Jun


Lightspeed Champion
Norwich Arts Centre – 13.05.10

Every once in a while someone comes along who appears to be made of pure talent. Devonté Hynes is one of these seldom seen but always appreciated artists and tonight he brings his most recent incarnation, Lightspeed Champion, to the Arts Centre to show us how to make folk-pop-rock truly exciting.

A dazzlingly eclectic and sometimes eccentric artist, no-one is sure what to expect when a bell summons us to the start of the show and Devonté walks softly on stage to greet us with a shy “hello”. But before we have a chance fear that this may be a quiet and somewhat reserved theatre-style gig, Hynes’ guitar throbs into life and “Marlene” is a slap round the chops to anyone daring to think such a thing. The stage at the Arts Centre suddenly feels tiny as Lightspeed Champion fills it to bursting. Four guys, one huge sound.

Bang, bang, bang, heads are left spinning as we are hit with track, track, track. “Midnight Surprise”, “Galaxy Of The Lost”, “Romart” all blend seamlessly into one another. Questions have to be asked about what these guys have been eating, there is simply no break. Hynes even manages to segue from guitar to a keyboard by his feet without ever breaking stride. It feels like they are going to play forever, never pausing, never coming up for air, going on until there are no songs left in the world to perform. Right now, no-one would complain if they did.

The eventual banter is short and sweet – “We love Norwich”, “Thursdays are weird” – and we are swiftly returned to the more important business of blowing our tiny minds with immense rockitude. “Madame Van Damme” explodes like your heart when you fall in love, “Middle Of The Dark” stalks the stage with all the drama of the West End’s finest, and with that he’s gone. Barely has he left the stage and the room fills with the crowd baying for more. Thank goodness for encores.

This is a reminder as to how live music can grab you by the balls in a way no recording can. The performance is immense, but it’s more than just rock and power. The song-writing quality and pop roots of Hynes’ music is all still there, but he and his band are playing as if there’s a small nuclear reactor powering them and someone has turned it up to 11. He says he wants to play the Arts Centre again, how about tomorrow?

Adam Hill


2 Responses to “Lightspeed Champion – Live review”

  1. donald June 11, 2010 at 22:52 #

    What a fantastic review. Hope the band appreciated it! I like your imagery and its obvious you enjoyed the show. Great work!


  1. Blood Orange Announce US Tour « Alphabet Bands - September 21, 2011

    […] year, we had the very great pleasure of watching Devonté Hynes perform under the guise of Lightspeed Champion and then got to spend some time with the man himself afterwards. This year, we have been loving his […]

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