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Blackfield at Islington Assembly Hall, London - live review

Steven Wilson makes a surprise appearance at Aviv Geffen's Blackfield show

Aviv Geffen on stage for Blackfield
(Image: © Will Ireland)

The net result is that we’re shown the rich back catalogue Geffen has assembled over a quarter of a century in the business. The diehard element of the crowd take delight in this pick’n’mix approach, even if fair-weather fans don’t really get the soft-prog fillips that Blackfield V offers.

The youthful-looking Geffen is a committed, smooth performer, and with a casually competent band, he glides through tracks that range from easily digestible and commercially oriented to something marginally heavier. You’d perhaps need some expertise in the Israeli political arena to glean some of the lyrical nuances, but the music’s primarily a pleasant purr.

Wilson, enjoying himself, takes on the bulk of guitar and vocals, Geffen happy to defer. The audience lap up this bonus, with Wilson fans thrilled to see the man in what is – by his current standing – a modest-sized venue.

After he leaves, the energy remains high as Geffen raises his own game, hurling heartfelt angst into early song Glow, before an anthemic finale of Cloudy Now and End Of The World, both well-known homeland hits that have ex-pats here punching the air.

The special guest lifted the atmosphere. Thankfully, Geffen didn’t let it drop.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.