Anna Meredith at the Barbican

The May Bank Holiday weekend at the Barbican was centred around Anna Meredith, the Scottish composer who brings dance music to classical or is it classical to dance music? Either way, she creates fascinating pieces that have their own distinctive sound.

Tonight, accompanied by the London Contemporary Orchestra and her own band, her second album FIBS was played in full. Followed on the Sunday by two live performances of her score for Eighth Grade. Meanwhile downstairs at the Barbican, Anna curated the DJs playing music for a roller disco.

Roller disco at the Barbican

If you have lived next to somebody practicing a classical instrument, you know how loud they can be. That loudness is rarely used by composers. Anna’s work makes use of how loud these instruments can be to create dance tracks. The first time I saw her band, she was playing at the Great Escape and it was amazing, even amongst at the indie bands, her band was the loudest thing I heard that weekend. Tonight, with an orchestra in tow, the driving dance beats of the tuba(?) and drums were enhanced by the LCO adding extra dynamics, really bringing alive her FIBS album.

The great thing about an Anna concert is how she makes things fun. She always seems to love performing. Standing at the front of the stage behind her keyboards and drums, she is less conductor and more house DJ. Closing the evening off, she had the Barbican audience join her in karaoke versions of Elton John songs covered by her band and the orchestra. A fun evening.