The Durutti Column
Norwich Arts Centre
Norwich Arts Centre
Durutti Column mastermind Vini Reilly is one of pop's survivors. A veteran of Manchester's fertile post-punk scene, label difficulties and ill-health have failed to halt his almost 30-year quest to expand the electric guitar's horizons.
With recent album Keep Breathing garnering rave reviews, this gig was an opportunity to witness a performer described by Red Hot Chilli Pepper John Frusciante as the best guitarist in the world.
Certainly anyone with a hankering for melancholy freeform soundscapes will not have been disappointed. Predominantly instrumental, Reilly's tunes bubble with internal urgency, before bursting into unexpected aural shapes.
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Long-time collaborator Bruce Mitchell's meditatively pulsing drums and Badly Drawn Boy producer Keir Stewart's bass provided a sympathetic foundation, but really this was Reilly's show.
African rhythms and traditional Jewish influences jostled with plaintive samples amid his cacophonous guitar, bringing to mind a more thoughtful Moby.
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In an age overflowing with drearily competent indie bands, it is genuinely inspiring to catch up with one of pop's true left-field mavericks.
The Durutti Column may never rival Embrace as a commercial proposition, but this gig demonstrated the value of real flair and originality.