Temper Temper: The Pain of Desire
Weimar rock ‘n’ roll from an unforgettable performer
This article is from 2012.
The edges between live concert and theatrical performance bleed together in this full band show instigated by creative director Wendy Bevan. It begins as we await outside, the sound of piano flourishes being prepared echoing through the institutionalised corridors of Summerhall, even as a fraught-looking master of ceremonies paces back and forth, silently offering his hipflask and barking at anyone who dares speak. Then we are ushered into the venue’s old anatomy lecture theatre, a barrel-shaped room with the most wonderful, air-thickening acoustics and a vantage point from the old wooden pews that offers a raised view wherever you sit.
Bevan, wearing a sparkling, floor-length, crocheted dress, bird’s nest hair and porcelain-toned make-up on her face, glides in and says not a word. Her band, led by wild-coiffured pianist Seiriol Davies, strike up, and they sound fantastic: a crunching drum beat that shakes the walls, a thick bassline that echoes in the chest, Davies’ madcap but expert playing. They remind of Dirty Three or perhaps Can in a wilder moment, but Bevan’s stunning performance is pure Dietrich; a voice made of jagged highs and a spine-caressing baritone, her expressions detached and constantly yearning for something in the middle distance, and if the audience aren’t there at all. The effect is powerful and hypnotic, and will stay with you.
Summerhall, until Sat 18 Aug, 21.45—22.45, £10 (£8).