The Lantern | 21st March

Photos by Will Fahy

The Lantern is spread with seats and bathed in a cerulean hue from the onstage lighting as Lung Dart takes to the stage first and fills the room with their haunting, ambient arrangements. An amalgamation of field recordings, sparse piano melodies and rich, ethereal vocals the duo, who created a version of ‘I’m Ready’ for Taylor’s Listen With(out) Piano released this month, deliver a lingering blend of warped noise and dulcet tones that perfectly sets the atmosphere for Alexis Taylor’s performance.

With just Taylor and a grand piano in front of us there’s an intrinsic intimacy to his set as the first elegant, emotive chords are played. Taylor’s vocals are instantly rich and enveloping as he delivers a set filled with his solo works, pieces from other projects, and a variety of Hot Chip tracks. Echoing the emotional vulnerability of the songs on Piano, Taylor’s performance is imbued with a graceful honesty and openness.

At times using musical backing to accompany his performance Taylor quips “who needs band players when you can have a cd player” as the recordings provide some of the reinterpreted pieces on Listen With(out) Piano from a variety of artists, as well as rhythmic complement to certain Hot Chip songs. There’s always been a distinct sensitivity to Taylor’s various musical outputs and hearing these tracks, which include Hot Chip’s ‘Look at Where We Are’ and About Group’s ‘All Is Not Lost’, in a setting that feels like an exclusive glimpse into Taylor’s personal world augments this emotive sincerity.

For the last tracks Lung Dart return to the stage performing ‘Crying in the Chapel’ and ‘I’m Ready’ with Taylor, providing warbled, vocal distortions and echoing synth tones that, alongside Taylor’s warm, evocative vocals and delicate piano notes, culminate in melancholic and soulful swathes of sound to close the set.

Returning to the stage for an encore, Taylor opens to floor to requests; as one audience member calls out for Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, which Hot Chip covered some years ago, Taylor pauses, uncertain if he can remember how to play it all which results in the requester being invited onstage to perform the piano accompaniment. This spontaneous outcome goes to further establish the intimate relationship between artist and audience that has pervaded the evening’s show and as Taylor plays a few other Hot Chip songs to close, the characteristic melodic tenderness of Taylor’s compositions leaves an enduringly tangible impression.

Check out a piano demo from Alexis Taylor below.