Tuesday, June 22, 2010

sexy disco glam distortion

Last night, Stephen Sears, the wordsmith behind the blog at XO's Middle Eight, joined me for an evening of sexy disco glam distortion. Get your minds out of the gutter! We sauntered over to the 9.30 Club in Washington DC for evening with Goldfrapp and 1,000 of their closest friends.

The venue is rather unremarkable and is located in a part of the city that is starting to see the benefits of gentrification. The inside reminds me a little of the Ritz in its gritty, 80s heyday or the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.

In fact, while we waited for Goldfrapp to take the stage in front of a giant, silver, inflatable woo hoo, we spotted Alison as she cascaded down the backstage stairs. In that moment, I had a flashback. I realized I had been to the venue many years ago. In 1998, I produced Billie Ray Martin and did a spot of tour management for her. BRM played that very club one summer evening that year. Small world.

Enough nostalgia. Alison swanned on stage in a lovely black, feathery number and black, flashy tights to the pulsing, vocal strains of "Voicething" from Goldfrapp's current longplayer, "Head First".

For the rest of the show, many of the musical selections focused on the current elpee with a smattering of songs plucked from their rich, back catalog of material. It was a loud, adrenaline fuelled evening with Alison cooing over the live arrangements provided by her very accomplished band mates.

I was very impressed with the keyboard player who performed most of her parts live rather than let a sequencer do all the work. All of the band members were dressed in silver, spangly jumpsuits. The multi-instrumentalist who played keyboards, various guitars and electric violin wore a fetching, open front blouse which showcased his effusive chest hair and looked more like a member of ELO had invaded the stage.

During this display of lamé and sequins, I couldn't help but wonder what Will Gregory, the other half of Goldfrapp, gets up to while Alison is strutting her stuff on stage.

Last night's set list was quick and to the point. Not a lot of chatter from Alison. Although, we did find out she was terribly jetlagged. However, her wardrobe plumage spoke volumes.

1. Voicething
2. Crystalline Green
3. I Wanna Life
4. A&E
5. Dreaming
6. Head First
7. Number 1
8. Believer
9. Alive
10. Shiny And Warm
11. Train
12. Ride A White Horse
13. Ooh La La
14. Utopia
15. Black Cherry
16. Rocket
17. Strict Machine

Sadly, there were no shooting laser beams or dancing vampires. But we did get the jumpsuits. However, we were only treated to one song each from their debut longplayer, "Felt Mountain", and their pastoral excursion, "Seventh Tree". I would've loved to have heard a bit of "Happiness" or "Caravan Girl".

The highlight of the evening was clearly a balls out, glam hammered rendition of "Strict Machine" as the final encore. With our eardrums sizzling from a solid electro battering, we made our way out of the club and onto the hot and humid streets.

Not sure what the next step is for Goldfrapp. After a decade, five albums and a clutch of tasty singles, will their first greatest hits collection appear for the forthcoming Christmas season? Perhaps they'll put that off in favor of another album.

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