The Late David Turpin, Live at Rich Mix, Shoreditch, February 3 2015.
In the venue brochure, The Late David Turpin was described as one of Ireland’s most unusual and accomplished artists. He is, not only working on his own brand of pop but also working producing other artists as well as music and soundscapes for theatre.
The last time I saw The Late David Turpin live was about two years ago at the Fringe Festival (I think), he put on a show in The Project Arts Centre. The space was perfect for his art form, which also featured Cathy Davey, Ivan St John and Dave McGuinness from Lir (please correct me if my memory is fading) which falls neatly between theatre and pop.
So the arts space in Rich Mix in Shoreditch was the perfect place for Turpin to grace the London stage for the first time. This was not only a chance to air some of his own music but also some songs Turpin has been writing for Harold Finley’s ‘Lulu A Monster Musical’.
Despite, or perhaps because there’s a small crowd tonight, Turpin’s humour shines through the performance and this ads to his shy retiring personality. Tracks from Turpin’s back catalogue, including the recent ‘We Belong Dead’ album, live happily beside each other, with Turpin explaining that most of his music is about ‘Animals, death or sex, or a combination of the three.’ But there’s nothing morbid about his music, the underlying beats, gorgeous backing vocals and Turpin’s own timid vocals bring an hypnotic fragility to proceedings.
The songs he has written for ‘Lulu A Monster Musical, which is based on the 1929 film ‘Diary of a Lost Girl’, are darker than the rest of his own material. As they are written specifically for theatre, they do seem more dramatic and he cleverly uses a different microphone (AKG C414 fact fans) going through a vocoder. This isn’t the first time Turpin and Finley have worked together, they worked on ‘Faithless Bitches’ so it will be interesting to see Lulu when finished.
Turpin is an accomplished artist who knows his sound, knows his voice and the direction he wants to take with his music. Highlights include ‘Fur’ and the ever awesome ‘Bone Dance’. Days later, I’m still singing it’s catchy refrain. It’s a crime it hasn’t reached a bigger audience.
He doesn’t play live a great deal but when he does, The Late David Turpin is a must see.