Sunday, July 4, 2010

Live Review: GOLDFRAPP

Friday, October 03, 2008
The Palais

It was always going to take more than the soundtrack to The Wicker Man being played before the show to settle the crowd for the more sedate sounds of her recent album. The giraffe masks and the ivy-strung antlers adorning the heads of some fans showed Alison and co that the amount of love in Melbourne for them would be pretty substantial and they were going to let her know.

Though far from sold out, The Palais are raucous in their reception of Miss Goldfrapp, resplendent in a peach batwing muumuu and eager to get down to business with her seven-piece band. Kicking off with Brown Paper Bag she then aborts an introduction of A&E seeming to tell the band off and unsettling us for a little while, something she does a little later by calling some members of the crowd “fuckers” for their impassioned heckling.
A divine reading of Utopia dismisses this, and it’s the only time she really lets go in jaw-dropping operatic mode. “A bit of a funny start to the whole thing wasn’t it?” she says drily. Still we know we’re only moments away from being dazzled again, a job the psychedelic projections do marvellously during Satin Chic, Clowns and Road To Somewhere. The attention to detail about the instrumentation (harp is wonderfully used, and the Theremin only scarcely yet effectively) and the set (ivy-hung antlers atop a Grecian pillar) go a long way to making this an unmistakeable product of Alison and Will, despite being on a smaller scale than their European shows.

Following on from Little Bird Alison berates us for sitting. We stand. And then we dance. Despite best intentions and a much of the new folksier and warmer, more homely album suffers under the titanic glam stomp of some of her earlier work, and that seem to be what people want to hear. Train dazzles with its busy rhythmic brilliance, Ooh La La gives us stadium disco pop on a grand scale, the encore of Strict Machine totally overrides the snooze-worthy set-closer Some People. Goldfrapp’s voice, despite being tempered by some jetlag she confesses to, is still a wondrous thing in all its multi-tracked glory. The biggest moment of the night is her humble statement of: “we haven’t played this one in a while” that precedes a beautiful version of Black Cherry, heavy on the harp and acoustic guitar. Many fans nearly drown out it’s opening section in celebration, a move that is politely tolerated on stage. A similarly sensitive Monster Love follows and likewise goes down a storm.

It’s odd getting used to gigs finishing by 10:40 at The Palais and it seems like a short set, though one few fans could have had complaints with, only Crystalline Green seemed overlooked. Seventh Tree almost needs a tour of it’s own to bring out its subtleties and nuances. In lieu of that, this appearance won’t be leaving the memory in a hurry, for its hissy fits or greatest hits.   

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