Woodkid With The BBC Orchestra LIVE @ O2 Academy, Brixton 13.11.13

Marcella Sartore picBy Marcella Sartore

Electro-dance combined with Majestic orchestral melodies cannot be but the fruit of a brilliant mind such as Woodkid.

French- born singer song-writer, he became famous in the past few years for having worked as a video director for pop stars like Katy Perry (‘Teenage Dream’), Lana Del Rey (‘Born To Die’ and ‘Blue Jeans’) and Taylor Swift (‘Back To December’). His first work as a musician, the dramatic pop song titled ‘Iron’ (2011) has been sampled by Kendrick Lamar and has featured in the soundtrack of the videogame ‘Assassin’s Creed’. In March 2013 Woodkid released his first album, ‘The Golden Age’. Accompanied by a book he has written with the help of his cousin Katarzyna Jerzak, a published writer and professor at Princeton University, ‘The Golden Age’ is a sort of concept album about a kid who leaves home and becomes an adult. It’s symbolized by a pair of keys which Woodkid shows fiercely as a tattoo on his arms.

After performing last May at the Roundhouse, Woodkid came back to London yesterday for a show at the Brixton Academy with the BBC Orchestra.

A drum roll. Blue and white lights are switched on and start a psychedelic dance. The black curtains open and undisclose a group of strings and winds from the BBC Orchestra. Woodkid appears on the stage in his black and blue sweater and, after bowing to the musicians playing behind him as to thank them, he starts singing ‘The Golden Age’, from the eponymous album. Looking visibly happy as he himself is enjoying his own music, he actively interacts with his public, guiding the fans’ voices with his hands like a music director. Jumping on the amps to say hi to the presents and allow them to take the ritual pictures, he then introduces the place where he actually lives, ‘Brooklyn’.

Cinematic images on the big screen at his shoulders and white lights moving hands in hands with music, definitely manage to warm up the audience who starts jumping and singing along with Woodkid during such pearls as ‘Run Boy Run’ and ‘Stabat Mater’. Passionate violins, pompous trumpets, tribal percussions and  a melancholy piano give birth to a surreal atmosphere where the mind loses itself and just follows God Woodkid without thinking anymore. It’s an initiation that reaches its peak with ‘Iron’ at the end of which a chorus raises up from the stalls making Woodkid embarrassed, yet moved by so much affect. Thus, he decides the time has come to give the fans a little present. Better, two. A couple of songs he’s just written during this tour that will most probably feature in his next album. ‘Go’ is a kind of melancholy journey through the mind, while the other one (whose title he does not reveal) is an uninhibited dance almost without lyrics.

It’s about 10.30 pm and the concert comes to an end. The public is upset as it keeps the secret wish to prolong forever the magic and the dramatic tension of Woodkid’s music. Nonetheless, a standing ovation starts inside the O2 Brixton, while the artist, a dazzling smile on his face, introduces his musicians and thanks his manager who always supports him although “he doesn’t know what I’m doing either”.

The theatre yellow lights are switched on once again. Fans are heading to the doors with a dream in their eyes, adrenaline in vein, music in their souls and the feeling that a teaspoon of heroism can be found in everyone’s life. Like in a movie or in a videogame. Like in Woodkid’s music.