Guardian Live -- 4 stars -- "an audacious success"Oct 27th, 2009
David McAlmont has always pursued singular musical liaisons. Having debuted his startling larynx in early 1990s art-soul duo Thieves, covering Scritti Politti and the Cocteau Twins, he went on to form McAlmont and Butler with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, then work with film composer David Arnold.
McAlmont’s latest project sees him hook up with Michael Nyman for The Glare, an album in which the singer cherry-picked his favourite Nyman pieces and augmented them with lyrics inspired by world news stories. Nyman however took centre-stage for the first half of tonight’s one-off performance, leading his ensemble through a programme largely drawn from his film soundtracks for Peter Greenaway.
The mood shifted when McAlmont appeared after the interval. Once a gaudy pop peacock, now he cuts a sober figure in black suit and tie, but his vocal pyrotechnics have not dimmed, and he threw his tremulous falsetto into sweet songs for the dispossessed and disadvantaged like Antony Hegarty warbling the headlines from Radio 4’s The World Tonight.
With Nyman acting as musical director at the piano, McAlmont breathed vivacious life into the camp opera of City of Turin, a song about Nigerians trafficked into Europe. As his vocal soared, his subject matter was equally outrageous: In Rai Don Giovanni took pot-shots at Silvio Berlusconi’s alleged marital infidelities, while A Great Day in Kathmandu revisited Joanna Lumley’s trip to Nepal after her Gurkha campaign.
McAlmont’s take on world events was occasionally clunky and over-earnest, but his voice and conviction carried even The Glare’s corny title track, a homily to Susan Boyle. It was an audacious success for a thoroughly odd couple.