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Festival theatre, Edinburgh
Debuting songs from his forthcoming second album, the formerly homeless Mercury prize winner evokes David Bowie, Radiohead and Anohni
When Benjamin Clementine eventually pads on stage barefoot and perches on a high stool at his grand piano, it’s in complete darkness that has descended on the theatre long enough to leave audience members sniggering in discomfort. But even without the preceding half-hour delay caused by technical issues, this show would have felt fantastically awkward.
It’s the first live airing in Britain of songs from Clementine’s second album due for release in September, I Tell a Fly, a rumination on migrants, refugees and displacement, musically inspired by Erik Satie and Isao Tomita. It may confound anyone looking for more of the dramatically surging torch songs that characterised his Mercury prize-winning debut, At Least for Now.