Goldfrapp + We Were Evergreen, Symphony Hall, Birmingham 26/03/14

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Parisian trio We Were Evergreen support Goldfrapp and it’s the slot they were kind of destined to take. That’s not to say much bigger things aren’t beyond them. Warmth, experimentalism and earnestly are three of the most important musical ingredients and they have them all – IN SPADES.
Xylophone, banjo, keyboards, kick cymbals, multiple live sampling, like Shlomo without the Hip-Hop. Boogie. Haunting. Switching effortlessly. Waving into Alt-J and/or Connan Mockasin at their very best, this is a band to seriously watch out for. When, of all instruments, a trumpet enters, the audience move and are moved for the very first time on a lazy mid-week Wednesday. Rousing. Primitive Pop that bustles with Passion.
Goldfrapp intro with the narrated tale from Peter and The Wolf. One can sense the audience hark back to childhood school assemblies and amplified record players in school halls. A masterstroke.
The start of the just over an hour and a half set starts with a visit to their current album Tales Of Us. These songs are pure proof that Goldfrapp have not yet peaked. The ‘new’ songs are sublime, soft and solidifying. At a venue with just beautiful acoustics Goldfrapp shine so damn bright it almost hurts.
Stunning cinematic soundscapes. The drummer pads around frantically with brushes. Soft yet oh so searing. Massive Attack? Fleetwood Mac? – Fuck that – Goldfrapp are where it’s at. Heads nod. The midweek crowd feel the groove. ‘Annabel’ in particular with its slow steely guitar and sonically sparse vocal sends shimmers through this stunning venue that Goldfrapp, the band who should be Bond (James, the Theme) are so at home in.
Club vibes wandering into classical themes. This is getting VERY good indeed. Beatles-esque movements. Experimentation of Pink Floyd pulled through the post-rave culture. Forget the Kate Bush new gigs announcements; catch Goldfrapp on this tour for real current musical art. A seemingly nervous Alison Goldfrapp asks the audience to stand. They oblige. There is A LOT of good will in the Symphony Hall and the security momentarily look worried and fans from upstairs pile to the ground floor.
Now it’s time to Get The Hits Out and this really does raise the bar. More and more people stand, shimmer, shake and dance. Aisles fill. Security clear the aisles. They fill again. Let’s have a midweek rave.‘Number One’ is aired. It feels ‘old’ against the new material but it does the trick. Pop Torch that burns in the best way possible.
‘Ride A White Horse’ loses its way, this matters not one jot. It starts again with hollers of ‘I love you Alison’. ‘Good Will’ wanders into serious disco territory and it all gets – welcomingly – a bit alt Donna Summer. ‘Ooh La La’ raises that disco bar before ‘Clowns’ reminds the audience of the sheer span of Goldfrapp. Mesmerising. ‘Lovely Head’ with it’s banshee wail sends shockwaves through this beautiful arena. The gear ups yet again, and whoops greet ‘Strict Machine’ with its deadpan robotic glory.
An astonishing show. First night nerves bleeding into sonic searing beauty and the most near unexpected rave in the most unlikely, yet amazing venue.
Check Goldfrapp out should they visit your town soon. This is 10/10 material.