London EC2 Barbican Centre

He's something of an eccentric, [a]Jimi Tenor[/a].

He’s something of an eccentric, [a]Jimi Tenor[/a]. That he’s Finland’s sole exporter of easy listening techno is one thing. That tonight he arrives onstage dressed in a Japanese smock and carrying a lantern is obviously another. And surely the fact that he’s playing with a 61-piece orchestra should be further evidence of his wilfully odd game plan.

Here to belatedly promote his pseudo-classical opus ‘Out Of Nowhere’ (though sadly without the white horses that carried him to the stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival), the reality is actually a bit different. We live in an age where everyone from [a]Metallica[/a] downwards has ‘gone orchestral’ so really, Jimi‘s doing nothing new. Still, when it’s done properly, there’s no denying its potency. Tenor might be guilty of forced experimentalism and pretension, but when you see the gusto with which he fuses great, parping arpeggios with blaxploitation funk on tracks like ‘Spell’, it’s easy to forgive him.

Although occasionally the orchestra seem like window dressing for Tenor‘s increasingly bemusing antics, the man is a showman in the oldest sense of the word. And in an age where dressed-down blokeishness is [I]de rigueur[/I] (hello, Travis and Coldplay) it’s refreshing to witness a man leading an orchestra dressed all in pink and as a warlock.