2018 is going to be a great year for music icon David Byrne. The former Talking Heads frontman released American Utopia, his first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, and announced an expansive world tour, with various shows already sold out. Part of that tour involves Byrne will also be stopping by the BB&T Pavilion in Camden to headline the XPoNential Music Festival with other amazing artists such as The War on Drugs, Sturgill Simpson, Sylvan Esso, and more. (For more updates and information, head over to the XPN Fest website.)
The visual approach to the tour is captivating; Byrne has referred to the staging as a blank canvas, where he and his backup singers use headset mics, his band plays their instruments wirelessly, there are no boom stands or instrument cables or drum risers in the way. Essentially it opens up the entire stage for movement and expression; watch a roundup of fan videos from recent shows below.
The same day as the release of American Utopia, Byrne was the musical guest on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” delivering a well-choreographed performance of “Everybody’s Coming To My House” from the new album that incorporated a mobile band in all matching grey suits with no shoes on. There was a drumline, multiple guitars, and a few dancers including Colbert himself. At one point, you can see Colbert playing the air guitar. Like the live show, the stage was completely empty, with no amps or anything, giving Byrne the ability to walk around and even lead his band to the aisles and travel around the studio.The performance was well structured yet very playful and eccentric. Watch the performance below.
Another newly announced project of David Byrne’s is the Byrne’s Reasons to Be Cheerful series which is named for the song by the late Ian Dury. The material featured on the series “recognizes the darkness and complexity of today while showcasing alternatives to the despair that threatens us….inspire optimism through collections of highlights stories, news, ideas, and other items.” To kick off the series, Byrne released a video titled American Utopia: Detroit where he worked with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble of the Detroit School of Arts. The students performed a rendition of “Everybody’s Coming To My House,” and some students even helped produce the video itself. Byrne also spoke to Trevor Noah on the Daily Show about the video and how it connects to “the musician’s larger vision of both the American Utopia album and his ongoing Reasons to Be Cheerful series” which you can watch here, and for more info on the RTBC series, click here.
Don’t forget to grab your tickets for WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival to see David Byrne and many more artists perform on July 27th, 28th, and 29th. So head over to the XPN Fest website for more information and updates.
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