Monday, October 25, 2010

Gorillaz: a Live Review in Words

Well, folks I had a rare opportunity on Friday night to catch Gorillaz at the Frank Erwin Center. I know a lot of you wanted to be there but couldn't for various reasons, including financial ones. In Austin we are accustomed to paying no more than $15 for a concert so when a band comes through charging closer to $100 a seat the locals tend to freak out. Let me tell you, if you had been in the Erwin Center Friday night you would have understood the cost and not thought twice about it. At any given point in the show there were at least 18 people on stage, that number swelled to closer to 30 people at various points throughout the set.

There were also lots of guest stars from the Gorillaz latest LP, Plastic Beach including Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon, Bobby Womack AND De La Soul!! I would love to have taken lots of pictures and/or shot some FlipVid but understandably this was not allowed. I do have access to this decent-looking iPhone cam picture though.

(Photo Courtesy of Matt Shiv)

Find more words after the jump...

The whole concept of the Gorillaz project is a marriage of music and comic book imagery. As you, probably, know Gorillaz are a fictitious, cartoon band so to help pull this off in a live setting an enormous High-Definition screen projected videos for every song that was played. For those very new songs without a completed video, storyboards for the video were shown instead. I was struck by how crystal clear all of the images were given the size of the screen, which I would guesstimate to be 5-stories high.

All in all the show was extremely pleasing both aurally and visually. The Gorillaz LPs have so many layers and textures that it would have been easy to be disappointed by the live re-interpretations but this was not the case at all. Having a full brass section, a full string section, two full drum kits, two bass guitars and four (or was it five(?)) back-up singers made all of the songs sound as they should but more bombastic. You could also, clearly, see that everyone on the stage was enjoying themselves immensely. Damon Albarn was running back and forth on the stage, performing from atop the monitors doing all of his best arena moves from his Blur-days all with the biggest shit-eating grin on his face.

If and when this tour comes to your city, you best be shelling out the cash, trust me you will not regret the decision in the least. Also, make sure you get there early enough to catch opening act N.E.R.D. they performed all of their hits peppered with to-be-released tunes. They even played a jam from their forthcoming LP, which was produced by Daft Punk.

Oh and just a little side-note about my whole experience Friday night. If you have never been to the Frank Erwin Center, as I had not, you should know there is more than one box office. So, don't freak out and cry, like I did, when they don't have your tickets. Trust me you'll feel pretty douchey about it later.

Here is the set-list from the Gorillaz show at Frank Erwin Center from Friday night, courtesy of Setlist.Fm:

Orchestral Intro (Extended)

Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach (with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

19/2000 (with Rosie Wilson)

Last Living Souls

Stylo (with Bobby Womack) (and Bootie Brown)

On Melancholy Hill

Rhinestone Eyes

Superfast Jellyfish (with De La Soul)

Tomorrow Comes Today

Empire Ants (with Yukimi Nagano)

Broken (Extended)

Dirty Harry (with Bootie Brown)

El Mañana

White Flag (with Kano) (and Bashy, and the American Syrian Orchestra. Extended)

To Binge (with Yukimi Nagano)

DARE (with Rosie Wilson)

Glitter Freeze

Plastic Beach


Cloud of Unknowing (with Bobby Womack)

Feel Good Inc. (with De La Soul)

Clint Eastwood (with Bashy) (and Kano)

Don't Get Lost In Heaven

Demon Days (with Bobby Womack)