Image Credit: Serge LeblonLast night’s Goldfrapp concert at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom was almost like a greatest hits tour—Alison and the band offered up plenty of ’80s disco magic (see: the video for “Alive”) by playing most of the tracks from their 2010 album Head First, but also went for some older favorites like “You Never Know,” “Number 1,” and “Ooh La La.”
“Voicething” was a brilliant opener, launching right into the thumping “Crystalline Green” from 2003’s Black Cherry. Alison, in full sparkle mode, started stomping around right away and quickly lost herself in a dizzying feast of outstretched arms and those ethereal wails we know and love. She adorably kept trilling “Helloooooooo….” between songs to the crowd, who ate her crazy right up. I’d say her most inspired outburst was “Neigh!” just before “Ride a White Horse,” but I also loved when she confessed that she’d had two drinks and wasn’t that so crazy? Said the creature responsible for some of the trippiest music of the decade!
For me, the best part of the concert was the first encore, or what my concert buddy and I called “the chill encore.” This was just two downtempo favorites, “Utopia” from Felt Mountain and “Black Cherry.” The jumping-bean crowd was able to catch its breath and retain some of its vision during this refrain from the strobe lights, and the heavy pulse of “Black Cherry” gently lured them back into mania mode….for the second encore: “Rocket” and “Strict Machine.” Of course!
I love music, but I’m not big on live shows. I’m lazy, kind of a shut-in, and generally prefer studio recordings to live ones. I get sweaty and dehydrated just reading about a music festival, and I’d rather lounge around in an environment of my own design with a complete library and master volume control. What I’m saying is that when I do go to a concert, it means I am truly obsessed with the artist. Last night’s Goldfrapp show measured up with my other NYC bests — Roisin Murphy, Royksopp, Ladytron. Even though their music is electronic, there’s always something “alive,” so to speak, to glean from the artist and the sound that I can’t get from an album. Being at last night’s show made me realize that I shouldn’t forget that, and that maybe I should get up off my ass more often and become “wired to the world” via concerts.
Another reason I’m a lame concert-goer is that I spend a significant chunk of each concert debating which studio-recorded song I should listen to on the walk home. I was dead-set on both “Voicething” and “Ride a White Horse” as they played out live, but in the end I went for something they didn’t play last night, the first track of the first album and the reason I fell in love with Goldfrapp in the first place: the eerie, otherworldly “Lovely Head.” Listen to that and for a few minutes, your stupid litany of stupid problems will clear out of your head because your latest mind-bender, “Why was I not listening to this song three minutes ago, and at all times?” has taken over. A better life awaits.
Anyway, blasting songs from Felt Mountain through my headphones after midnight almost made up for the fact that the small Head First poster I picked up at the concert, which would have matched my office wall of crazy sunset colors perfectly, somehow fell out of my bag on the subway this morning. Almost.
No! It doesn’t.
Were any of you super-brained enough to make it out to Goldfrapp last night?
By the way, Alison’s weird costumes are much better viewed than described—Time Out has some great shots.
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