Sebastian Plano – Colston Hall, Bristol

Saturday 9th November, 2019

Mary Anne Hobbs played Purples by Sebastian Plano on her BBC6 Music Recommends show and I was struck by its haunting beauty and knew I had to hear him play live one day. When this gig was announced I jumped at the chance to get a ticket, even though it was on a weekend I knew I would have my boy. Tom would be over, so I told him he would have to keep an eye on my boy for the evening as I was not going to miss this gig! The only other time I’ve left my lad with anyone for a gig was Nils Frahm, usually I don’t bother allowing myself to think about what could be, but I knew I had to do whatever it took to be there to hear them play.

I am getting used to Colston Hall Foyer being used for performances and the sound and lighting team did a great job with this gig, stark and subtle, the lighting throwing shadows and shafts of light through Sebastian’s hair, giving him a golden glow.

There was one little Emma shaped gap in the front row (going alone to gigs does sometimes have advantages) and I heard a “hello Emma” from behind me and discovered that Jeff was sat right there. It was lovely to see him again, every gig I have shared in his company has been a good one.

Support was from John Metcalfe, who we could barely see in the darkness but that we could certainly hear. A polymath of a musician he played synth, effects, guitar and violin to mix together some really lovely stuff, including a couple of long pieces that swerved direction a few times and were a very good start point to the evening. I would very happily hear him play again.

I was expecting Sebastian to be playing piano so I was confused to not see one on the stage. There was, however, a cello and sound board and effects peddles so I was reasonably intrigued as to what sounds we were about to hear.

Oh my gosh. What sounds they were. I did not know you could play a cello like that, nor that it could make such incredible sounds. The inventiveness, creativity and mastery were superb. The cello is a gorgeous instrument, with deep resonance, but when you put it in the hands of Sebastian Plano, magic happens. Pure magic. It was beautiful, haunting and emotional. Almost every piece made me gasp and the sheer magnetic beauty made me weep as my senses became overwhelmed. I wanted to close my eyes to drink in the notes and sounds my ears and heart were so full and when I did beautiful fractal shapes in intense colours burned into my consciousness and I felt my heart and soul soar. It was less flying and more gentle floating, but the music certainly took me out of my body and into some higher plain or realm. It was astonishing.

I could barely speak at the end of the concert. All I could manage to Sebastian was a gestured thank you, and he read that with the obvious emotion on my face and gave me a hug ” I can barely speak” I squeaked, “that is why we have music” he said. Such purity of music, of emotion and of human connection in that moment, it was wonderful. The whole evening had been. Thank you Sebastian, thank you.


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