Review by Ryan Beardsley

It’s Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall and courtesy of curator Nile Rodgers, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of Austin synth band S U R V I V E are in town for the live, World Premiere of the soundtrack to Stranger Things 3. Rodgers himself is on stage to introduce the band, apparently Stranger Things is his favourite show.


Is it me or is it difficult to imagine Nile Rodgers settling down in his armchair and popping Netflix on?

The crowd sit in a curious silence as the two gentlemen casually stroll onstage, looking more like roadies than eminent musicians and looking around, I don’t think anyone really knows what to expect. The stage decor is minimal; the DJ booth is hidden within an array of loose wires and speakers, resembling a mad scientist’s basement after one too many potions.

Then just like that, I’m transported to the familiar setting of small town Hawkins; smoke billows out from the stage like the Mind Flayer is preparing to attack the audience, with that and the red neon lights that suddenly come to life, scattered around the concert hall, myself and the rest of the audience find ourselves stranded in The Upside Down. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been to a concert and felt a little bit afraid…

The music itself, whilst not really associated with live performance is breathtaking, for two dudes who look like they just rolled out of bed, they sure know their way around the synthesiser. Influences of Tangerine Dream and Giorgio Moroder are abundant and never over done, as we’re treated to the finest moments of their latest composition. ‘Boys and Girls’ is an instant disco classic from the show’s more light hearted scenes, all the way through to ‘Rats’, reminding those in attendance of one of the series most gruesome scenes (spoilers).

Although the show was publicised as the first live performance of season 3, there was plenty of favourites from earlier seasons sprinkled in. Beautiful compositions like ‘Kids’, ‘Friendship’ and ‘Hawkins’ only serve to remind me just how much amazing work has been put together by Stein and Dixon, the show would really not be the all conquering cult favourite without their talents.

All in all, a truly immersive experience, one that I felt privileged to attend and won’t forget in a hurry. Unfortunately, I doubt there will be much opportunity to see these two talented gentlemen perform this show live again but if they do, you really should jump at the chance.

I don’t really like to give a rating to a live show, but just this once, I’ll give it an Eleven…

Image Credit: Victor Frankowski for Southbank Centre

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