Review: Air, TKMaxx Summer Sessions, Southampton Guildhall Square

Review: Air, TKMaxx Summer Sessions, Southampton Guildhall Square

Words and pictures by Bella Briscoe.

As the sun set over Southampton’s historic Guildhall, the French duo, Air, emerged from backstage like apparitions in their completely white outfits (27/6/24). They greeted the audience warmly before taking up position surrounded by a huge range of instruments. The crowd soon forgot about the chilly breeze when they heard the first notes of La femme d’argent

Their whole set was conducted from within a futuristic white box which acted as a backdrop for elaborate lighting displays and screen projections. As night fell, the intricacies of the staging became apparent. Projections of stars danced on the neighboring university buildings and beams of colour jutted out across the crowd. 

They started with a full performance of their debut album, Moon Safari – warming up the crowd with the dulcet tones of Sexy Boy and Kelly Watch the Stars. The rhythmic synthesisers and bass for which they are so popular was an excellent way to spend the golden hour. The stage was bathed in a beautiful golden light throughout the set. 

After dark, there was a noticeable transition to a different era of the bands’ music. There were a number of songs from their 2004 album, Talkie Walkie, which were deeply nostalgic for me. It quickly became clear that Don’t Be Light was a crowd favourite. The band’s “space-rock” genre was a term I didn’t understand until I heard them perform this track – and I can’t deny it’s the perfect descriptor. 

The audience remained transfixed by the music for the full performance, despite the brutal drop in temperature. From my position in the photo pit at the start, I noticed a tiny girl – probably no older than five years old – on her dad’s shoulders. She knew every word and waved her arms to the beat excellently. I noticed the pair again during the encore, where I overheard her dad explaining that she had stuck it out for almost the whole performance, almost hypnotised by the music. Even at the back, she was still raring to go. 

The concert was the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of Air’s iconic debut album, Moon Safari, with plenty of other classics sprinkled into the mix. Despite knowing very little about this band before the concert, they did not disappoint – and it was clear that the rest of the crowd felt the same. 

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