It’s been 20 years since Daft Punk’s debut album Homework was released (that’s right, we’re all fucking old now) but the power of nostalgia rears it’s beautiful head on this sort of occasion, and thankfully the Re:imagine Orchestra are here to help. The people over at Re:imagine have been running numerous events featuring, you guessed it, re-imaginations of seminal albums and the back catalogues of iconic artists. Having already hosted a number of realisations from Dre’s 2001 album and Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, this latest Daft Punk event sold out, for all performances, because who would want to miss out on a 16-piece orchestra recreating the funkiest electronica the world of dance has ever seen.
This performance was at one of our favourite venues, XOYO in Shoreditch, which exhibits some of the best sound and lighting you can get from a smaller London venue. This time they upped their game with an awesome visual display, which was projected onto a gauze that separated the majority of the band with the string section, and boy did it look cool. Opening with ‘Doin’ It Right’, and some visuals enveloped around Daft Punk’s name and logo, the sound was big and spine-tingling; it felt quite enchanting to hear digitally-based music being performed live by musicians. The strings took 'Around The World’ to an even more grandiose, epic level, and added a classier and more elegant sound to tracks like ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’ and ‘Digital Love’. These arrangements really brought to light how many of Daft Punk's songs are not just banging dance tracks but also beautifully written pieces of music, with all the dynamic intricacies of romantic orchestration.
The rest of the band were also extraordinarily on point. Daft Punk’s songs are mostly big dance numbers with repetitive rhythm sections, and they were tight throughout the entire set. The keyboardist was multi-tasking on the vocoder masterfully, emulating the iconic vocal style frequently used in Daft Punk’s back catalogue. There was also a singer who came on stage for the tracks that didn’t have digitalised lead vocals, and this guy’s voice was outstanding, better than Pharrell’s voice actually, and he managed to deliver the complete range, right up to a crystal clear falsetto - an enviable skill to pull this off live.
Unsurprisingly, the encore track was ‘Get Lucky’, and what a way to close their performance. The Re:Imagine Orchestra had the crowd on side for the entire show, with everyone getting involved for this final number. It was a beautiful way to hear one of my favourite songs and they even had a Nile Rodgers silhouette visual from the short music video (he is always there in spirit). Things seem constantly on the up for Re:imagine, with more events being announced regularly. They now have performances dedicated to Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope and Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, as well as a Destiny’s Child night and a Wu-Tang Clan night; I highly recommend checking out the nights these guys put on. The band's show almost sounded better than just listening to the two DJs from Daft Punk playing it (although a performance from Daft Punk would be incredible for far many other reasons), there is just something strikingly real and engaging about music being performed with live singing and instruments. Luckily for you guys they are doing another Daft Punk show on the 25th November, I'd go if I were you.