Owen Pallett at Portland House
Owen Pallett has a hectic schedule which involves his own solo work, various side projects, writing scores for Oscar nominated films as well as writing arrangements for artists such as Taylor Swift, Robbie Williams and Duran Duran. Thankfully he still manages to find time to perform in Cardiff something he has done several times in recent years. This was another masterful performance which seemed effortless in its execution. Beginning his set alone with violin in hand he managed to create a magical sound of layered instruments. The use of loop pedals has been a feature of many solo acts in recent years. At its best it can add depth and colour and help flesh out a performance. At its worst you end up with Ed Sheeran. Luckily Owen Pallett is a master of the technique and has the ability to effortlessly create his own accompaniment on violin and keys over which he sings majestically. Joined by his band the pace became more intense and drew on his recent albums such as “Heartlands” and “In Conflict”. There was also a fine and fitting cover of John Cale’s “Paris 1919”. Portland House is a beautiful building. However, it was designed as a banking hall not a concert venue and as such it will test the best of sound engineers to avoid the mushy echoey sound that took its toll on the impact of this performance. Despite these difficulties Pallett’s musical virtuosity and engaging personality won out in the end and the closing “The Great Elsewhere” was a fitting and triumphant closing encore.