It is rare that a band can recreate its sound in a live setting. It’s even less common to find a band that can surpass that sound. On its third release, Supernature, Goldfrapp creates engaging electro-pop that sizzles with sexuality but hardly blows up the speakers. But live, the members of Goldfrapp take flight, transforming their Blondie-esque compositions into fully realized 3-D symphonies. This is where they exist, and in the process, Goldfrapp raises the bar for all electronica bands.
From the moment Allison Goldfrapp graced the stage of the fabulous Wiltern Theatre on March 11, she was greeted with ecstatic cheers. The sexy siren slinked onto the stage in a flowing black satin dress looking like a cross between a 1940s movie starlet and a ’70s disco diva. It’s the voice that gets you, though, quiet at first then instantly soaring to operatic heights.
The potent mix of subtle electronics combined with booming bass and Allison’s strong vocals was captivating. The well-paced set was a mixed bag of old and new material, spanning the group’s three albums (also including Felt Mountain and Black Cherry), with each song building toward a strong finish. Allison was backed by drums, guitar, keyboards and a violin, and the band was flawless, together and confident.
But Allison remained the focal point, her body making spare movements with each electro pulse. She posed and cooed in unison, each moment treated as if it were a still frame in Vogue. Two female dancers appeared during certain songs, each time clad in a new outfit, their faces always covered, punctuating the performance. During the memorable rendition of “Slide In,” the dancers slinked onstage in skintight silver Lycra and bizarre goggles, and during “Ride a White Horse” they appeared with metallic horse heads and white leotards with tails. The dancers added a whole new layer to Goldfrapp’s performance, perfectly expressing the band’s sonic themes in visual terms. The highlight of the show, though, was “Oh La La,” the punk-electronica pleasure that sent the audience into a frenzy. The track came alive, bursting with irreverent and sexual energy.
Goldfrapp’s live show was a welcomed surprise. Many electronica acts fail to build upon the strengths of their recorded material. The band’s attention to detail and commitment to producing a memorable live experience elevates it beyond other comparable artists. There were plenty of converts at the Wiltern on March 11, and I was one of them.
Goldfrapp Web site