Monday, October 01, 2007

REVIEW: Laurie Anderson (The Olympia, Dublin)

Where's Laurie at? The woman who parleyed an art world career into a impressive, but undeniably weird kind of pop stardom by singing about the military industrial complex is back in town with a new show. But what exactly is a Laurie Anderson show these days?

The time is over when when gig-goers could expect a mammoth multimedia experience controlled by the lone figure of Anderson, dispensing witty/portentous aper รงus on the arrival of the cybernetic technocracy.

Nowadays there are absolutely no projections and the very simplest of stage settings, with artfully hung bare bulbs and a floor carpeted with ropes of tiny lights. The look (and indeed the sound) of it all is of an arty rock band, with mature and serious instrumentalists sitting at their stations diligently unpacking their licks around the lead singer, while abdicating responsibility for quality control.

Some newer songs, such as The Lark, which opens the show, have the gliding and indelible images of the best of Anderson's work. But for the most part, Anderson's current setlist is long on noodling and over-extended workouts, which when attached to some pointlessly square drum programming, and worse still (in the case of Only An Expert) some entirely blunt satire, teeter very close to embarrassing.