Review + Photos: John Carpenter @ Victoria Warehouse – Manchester

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John Carpenter

As a self-professed movie fanatic, this evening presented itself as a unique opportunity to experience the iconically chilling compositions from legendary film director John Carpenter live, for the very first time. Based on the degree of anger directed at the venue on social media following the show however, it appears that for many, the evening proved to be a bit of an unmitigated disaster. Due to demand, the show had been moved from Manchester’s Albert Hall to the vast Victoria Warehouse in Trafford, but it seems that even this large venue could not cater for the high demand, and there have been accusations of over-selling tickets which resulted in many people unable to see the stage. This is such a shame because this highly anticipated event proves to be a triumphantly dark, grisly and entertaining journey through the sixty-eight year old’s back-catalogue of cult movies and the majestic soundtracks he created for them.

The director developed a particularly minimalist musical style during the seventies that became instantly recognisable and films like Halloween and Assault on Precinct 13 were memorably enhanced by his sparse and chilling themes, becoming almost as famous as the movies they accompanied. Tonight however, these compositions get a bit of a facelift, updated and reanimated for the 21st century. This is a achieved by adding some particularly lean meat around the core of his songs, provided by a thrilling and brutally effective band, including his own son on lead keys and godson Daniel Davies on lead guitar. Davies, who is the son of The Kinks’ Dave Davies, is a particularly riveting presence on stage and is afforded several opportunities to thrill and his shredding prowess proves to be second to none, complimenting the solid power chords and unsettling analogue tones present throughout many of the songs.

The evening is complimented from start to finish with a various collection of gruesome clips from Carpenter’s back-catalogue of films and we are treated to a montage of beheadings, dismemberments and other typically outlandish imagery that is certainly not fit for the squeamish. It is Halloween weekend after all however and the dark master of horror appears to be really enjoying his opportunity to thrill, conducting his band like a vindictive Frankenstein-esque scientist, allowing himself a little boogie behind his synths as his audience, many bedecked in Michael Meyers masks and Roddy Piper mullet wigs and shades howl their appreciation of these tracks, reanimated and thrillingly brought to life by a band of consummate skill and passion, led by it’s uber-ringmaster of horror, John Carpenter.

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Review and Photos by Iain Fox | @IainFoxPhoto

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