The last time I saw Robin Guthrie in concert was five years ago with his band Violet Indiana. Shortly after that he moved to France. While finding a new home in France, Guthrie also found a new musical direction in playing instrumental music. In 2004 he released his first instrumental album ‘Imperial’ and now he has followed it up with a second album ‘Continental’. Finally tonight he is in London playing at Notting Hill Gate Cinema and I am able get to hear all these great tunes live.

When I arrive at the venue, just after 8, the front bar is full of people. Those who can’t fit into the bar are holding onto their drinks and have spread right outside the door onto the pavement. The door to the auditorium finally opens just after 8:30 and everyone heads inside. The venue is an old cinema with comfortable red chairs and a screen down the front. There is no curtain covering the screen and on the stage is a table with a laptop on it.

All the fans sit down and impatiently await Guthrie's entrance. Guthrie comes up on the stage just after 9 accompanied by encouraging applause. He welcomes everyone. “Especially those who paid” he jokes.

The lights get turned down. Guthrie hits the laptop’s keyboard and a film starts playing on the screen. The film is the background to Guthrie's music. It is an abstract film with lots of images appearing on the screen and then dissolving. There is no clear meaning to it. That is left to the fans' imagination. We all dive into the beautiful tunes of Guthrie’s music.

There is short applause in a the brief break that happens between every two songs but the the fans appear to enjoy it all as one large piece. Guthrie stands on the right side of the stage and strokes his guitar. All of a sudden the film stops. It takes a few moments for everyone to realize that it is actually not intended, but the music is so powerful that it doesn’t matter. In some ways the fans' attention is not fully focused on the screen.

I especially enjoy the switch from the music being gentle to massive explosion of wild sounds and energy. It makes you shiver.

At 10 o’clock Guthrie interrupts the gig for a few minutes question and answer section. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem so keen on this part and suggests a short break.

After the break he performs together with Emma Anderson, formerly of Lush and now of Sing Sing. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay till the very end because London tubes have no mercy and, if you are heading across town at night, it can take you eternity.

Seeing Robin Guthrie tonight was very much a new experience to me. This was partly because of the the gig taking place in the unusual venue of the cinema, but mainly for the music that accompanied the film. I found the music had space left for my own imagination and thoughts which helped to bring the music to life only in a way in which I could understand. And this is what is really great about Robin Guthrie’s music – the ability to come alive.







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Commenting On: Gate Cinema, London, 12/6/2006 - Robin Guthrie








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