Past Event

The Magnetic Fields

Thu 16 Mar 2017

'A life-affirming portrait of a life in song' The Times ★★★★

The Herald ★★★★  The Guardian ★★★★  The Scotsman ★★★★

Songwriter Stephin Merritt of leftfield pop heroes The Magnetic Fields presents a spectacular new live show -  50 songs, each one dedicated to a year of his life – in a magnificent two-night staging.

Staying true-to-form with another epic, conceptual album - their breakthrough record 69 Love Songs, was as the name suggests - 50 Song Memoir is a five-disc chronicle of 50 years on earth. This theatrical live rendition features a specially expanded and multi-instrumental Magnetic Fields septet and is directed by the award-winning Jose Zayas (Love in the Time of Cholera).

In concert, the music will be played and sung by seven performers in a stage set featuring fifty years of artifacts both musical (vintage computers, reel-to-reel tape decks, newly invented instruments), and decorative (tiki bar, shag carpet, vintage magazines for the perusal of idle musicians). The seven performers each play seven different instruments, traditional (cello, charango, clavichord) or invented in the last fifty years (Slinky guitar, Swarmatron, synthesizer). 

Join us as we spiral through a beatnik upbringing spent in Buddhist retreats, and stagger home from the glamorous excess of 80s New York discos. Whether you experience the first evening, the second, or both across two consecutive nights, you’ll encounter a magical showcase of a personal history told through understated indie pop records.

'On this 5-disc musical memoir, Stephin Merritt has penned a song for each of the first 50 years of his life. His writing suggests that our deepest wisdom can be located in our most personal thoughts.' Read review from Pitchfork

'Some songs are drily or blackly funny, others are wickedly vengeful (“When I write my memoirs, you will read them with pain … searching in vain for your name”), dark or deeply moving.' Read review from The Guardian

'Stephin Merrit played all 50 songs (one for each of Merritt’s first 50 years) with the help of six other musicians, using 50 instruments, props, animation and more, against a whimsical, theatrical stage set. Merritt told stories in between songs, making the nights all the more special.' Read review from Brooklyn Vegan as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival

Check out our blog for Stephin Merritt's musings on 50 Song Memoir, his colourful upbringing, and more.

The whole album will be performed over two nights:
Part A (songs 1 - 25) on Thu 7 Sep
Part B (songs 26 - 50) on Fri 8 Sep
To book a combined ticket for Parts A & B click here >