Owen Pallett is an extraordinarily talented man. As well as his stellar solo work under his own name and the Final Fantasy moniker, he has also worked on string arrangements for many a band including Beirut, Arcade Fire and Last Shadow Puppets. And it is his strings that he is known best for, namely the violin which he wields and manipulates to astonishing effect during this in-between-albums gig at Band on the Wall tonight.

Pallett strolls onto the small stage with a guitarist and drummer to the unlikely sound of thumping bass and rave horns that carry on for a good 30 seconds after he’s taken up his position to the left of the stage. It looks and sounds like he’s gone in a completely new, off the wall direction on his new material in his three years away, like he’s about to break into some violin loops over the rave horns before he grins broadly and tells his sound man he can turn that off now. ‘I might insist on that as my entrance music for all my gigs from now on’ he beams, before starting the opening track from Heartland, his incredible third album. ‘Midnight Directives’ is the perfect opening song for anyone not entirely au fait with Pallett’s sound. He builds loops and loops of violin on top of one another, sometimes using the instrument as a drum, sometimes as a bass, sometimes as an actual violin, before he sings sweetly over the top of the intricate creations. It’s memorising to watch him build these songs, and Pallett himself often looks amused when he makes a particularly pleasing tune or rhythm. I’m grinning like an idiot throughout the entire set.

It’s the songs from Heartland that are the most impressive, particularly an absolutely glorious ‘Tryst With Mephistopheles’ which just builds and builds, verse after verse, until you think it has no where else to go other than through the roof of the venue. It’s amazing that most of the noise in this song is being made by one man and a violin (and sometimes a synth), backed minimally by a guitarist and drummer. I’m in absolute awe of him by this point, and can feel a burgeoning man crush for Pallett developing. He plays some new songs which sound a lot more rhythmic than anything from his Final Fantasy days, using more drum sounds than he has before. The best one is called ‘ Song for 5&6’ which has been doing the rounds on YouTube for a while now. Starting with a bubbling keyboard line, it grows as Pallett raps out drums on the bottom of his violin before he introduces all sorts of discordant violins over the top before it all builds up to a quite breathtaking, magical chorus at the end…it bodes very well for his new album.

Towards the end Pallett claims he knows the sales figures for all his albums across all countries, and decrees that Heartland didn’t sell too well in the UK, so he has a break from it and sends his band away to do three solo requests from the crowd, including a beautiful ‘This Lamb Sells Condos’ and one which he goofs his way through adorably, forgetting keyboard lines and timings, but eventually getting through it.

The encore contains a brand new song that he’s never played live before, but the real highlight is, of course, the final song of ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt’, with Pallett claiming that ‘this is my big hit, for what it’s worth’. Well it’s worth a lot of other people’s songs, because it’s absolutely exquisite. It’s refrain of ‘I’m never going to give it to you’ is quietly sung back at him as the crowd lap up every string stab and wonderful, soaring violin line. It’s quite the moving finale, and is a fitting send off for this chapter of Pallett’s career (this is is last stop on this tour). He is a very talented man indeed.