So how do you review a gig. I’m not particularly sure. I have review one before though: so what was the band’s name? bugfly. Yesterday I went to see Goldfrapp. And I want to start with a few bits of background. Goldfrapp are on tour with their third album. Their first album was glacial alt indie and I really liked it but knew it was never really a mainstream thing. Then a number of years later they released an alum that can now be seen as transitional but at the time just seemed strange. It was glacial action music which from it’s description sound like it doesn’t make any sense and in many ways didn’t. But in the essence of the album an certainly in a couple of tracks there was really something going on. Something that if fully realized would be fantastic. And then album number three came along. The current album is the full realization of Black Cherry’s (the second album) promise but there is once again something else going on. The weird thing with Goldfrapp is that they are so strange. They have that element of unknown but temper it with familiarity. This might sound like wanky bollocks but then Goldfrapp are a bit like that. They started off by being accepted by the musical community but not being very well known and are now becoming more popular. But the public and the critics are liking different things.
The gig last night was not the first gig of theirs I’d ever been to but for reasons of full disclosure I must admit that the previous time I saw them I was standing outside and listening-ish. I don’t really remember much about it. Yesterday I went with three people. For one of the people it was their sixth Goldfrapp gig. For one their second like me. And for the third their first – if that makes sense. And I must say that none of them thought the gig lived up to their expectations. The guy who had seen them six times though the first time was the best. And for the guy for whom it was his second time thought the previous time had been better too. Him being gay led credence to his opinion that the stripper dressed as a Nazi at the previous gig was a more interesting statement than this time out’s simply scantily dressed women rather than it being an opinion based solely on the level of feminine undress. But he also talked about expectations, the last time he had seen them he had expected nothing, this time he had expected an amazing gig. And he did have the good grace to say that he’d enjoyed it. It was, he thought, an excellent gig – but last time he’d been blown away in surprise and this time that couldn’t happen. It could only have met expectations or been disappointing and it had met them. The last guy, the guy whose first gig it was had a more complicated response – But I’ll come back to that later.
The gig started in that way that can only really work in a large venue like this one, with a bright neon blue light bathing the room and Alison Goldfrapp coming out onto stage with the base of the first tune already started. From where I was standing it would appear that she was wearing a black cat suit, six inch gold wedges and pink wings. At first it was impossible to see the wings until she raised her arms during her opening number. Alison’s voice is a beautiful instrument. And it was a fantastic opening.
The gig proceeded with a mix of older stuff and newer stuff with one brand new song (at least I think it was a new track from them rather than an obscure cover) and some fantastic ridiculous theatrics. It must be said that Goldfrapp are somewhat famed for their backing dancers, who usually wear few if any clothes. They do deserve a mention if only for the odd way that they actually wore more clothes as things progressed rather than fewer. And the two costumes towards the end were particular great. The black half calf boots and swimsuit costume was stunning and was then followed by a horse themed costume for “Ride on the white horse”, there were things the ladies were doing with their tails that didn’t seem entirely appropriate!
But what of the music? Well it was great. She’s a very good singer, the songs seem to flow together despite the change of style from album to album and I particularly felt that them having Jesus as their violinist was a nice touch.
So was it a good gig? That’s the really tricky question. I liked it, and the people I went with liked it. But the problem is that everyone expects a bit too much from them. They want it to blow them away, and they can’t ever blow you away like they did the first time you heard them (unless like me you weren’t really listening the first time you heard them). So what of my friend for whom this was his first gig?
He had been telling me all the way over that he was so looking forward to the evening and that this might be the greatest gig in a long time – and I just don’t think the gig was going to be able to live up to it.
So what do I want to say? I want to say that you should go and see them live and that you’ll really enjoy it. But I can’t say that because if I do you might expect too much.
Ps. I didn’t see them yesterday. I saw them last Thursday.