Review: Goldfrapp at the Olympia

Goldfrapp at the Olympia 26th November 2010

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Review: Ros Madigan
Photo: Alessio Michelini

It was a cold Friday evening as I made my way into town, eagerly anticipating both my visit to The Olympia and also my opportunity to see Goldfrapp. I hadn’t been to The Olympia in quite some time now and uncharacteristically was early for the performance. I used that time very wisely and had a few beverages in the venue bar as I looked forward to the show. I had only ever briefly seen Goldfrapp once before in the festival setting of Stradbally(Electric Picnic) and ever since had wished and looked forward to catching them at their own headline gig in Ireland.

Before the gig started, the stage was set and looked rather impressive. A huge silver gate controlled the rear of the stage towering above all the bands equipment below. Drums to the right, synths/keys to the left and a single microphone slap bang in the middle, complimented with two massive fans on either side. The lights went down, the atmosphere immediately rose to an intense level. The eery, repetitive ‘Voicething’ from the latest album Headfirst echoed around The Olympia. All members from Goldfrapp throughout the song started to steadily appear on stage bar one very important member, Alison Goldfrapp. As the song came to a finish, a women clad in what can only can be described as an extravagant outfit came marching through the massive silver gate. Goldfrapp had arrived.

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“Crytalline Green” began to play as all the members who were dressed in tight silver clothes got into their grooves. As she began to sing the two fans that flanked her microphone kicked in and started blowing and waving her outfit frantically. Her outfit looked to me as a mass of film tape and/or shreds of a black bin liner made into a body suit. Something David Bowie or Lady Gaga would be proud of. Before I could finish feasting my eyes on the various visual treats on stage, “You Never Know” began. The sheer wall of musical sound used in this song knocked me for six. From the prolonged synth lines, to the heavy bass lines, to the overall echo used on this track. All combined leading to an earth shattering sound. The gig had only just begun and the signs were evident that this was to be an amazing live show.

“Dreaming” was next and after the roller-coaster ride of sight and sound that went before, this was a perfectly timed track. The chorus of “And I, and I’m only dreaming. I, and I’m only dreaming.” evoked memories of summer festival times with anthemic hook lines. Her voice is flawless and this flawless vocal performance followed into the title track from the latest album “Headfirst”. The crowd once again, instantaneously responds to “Number 1”. The fact that this gig was a complete sell out and the crowds knowledge of every song leads you to believe that Goldfrapp has a committed fan base. She exhibits her talents on stage as an incredible front women, she is fearless and full of moves.

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In becomes apparent during “Alive” that the other half of Goldfrapp, Will Gregory changes instruments from song to song. This not only shows his creativity and talent but also that Goldfrapp’s sound changes with every song. This song was a stand out tune on the night for me. The light show on “Believer” is as incredible as before. The keyboard player comes off her perch to accompany Will Gregory on ‘keytar’(keyboard guitar). This song provides us with our first communal crowd clap along. This is all before the song ends like a massive theatre production with the lights cutting off on the last beat. “Shiny and Warm” provides us with the first time use of the massive light console on stage and to great effect. Alison Goldfrapp is truly amazing. You just can’t take your eyes off her. Little Miss.Florence Welch has a lot to learn from this great master of stage.

“Train” was up next and a song that I had been waiting for all night. The crackling bass and soaring synth on this track propels this song far above the confines of The Olympia. “Ride a White Horse” was a musical treat and led onto another crowd favourite in “Oh la la”. With every flick of her wrist she changes and moves her performance onto a new level. After rip-roaring her way through this song, with the crowd going crazy, she exits the stage. The rest of the band follows suit soon after.

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The audience is left in suspense for a short time until she appears on stage for “Black Cherry” in another avant-garde costume that I can only say resembles a giant curtain teacup. She also sports an eye-catching stripey full body suit underneath. She plays and toys with the costume while the band led the song out. “Little Bird” then rings out as the crowd once more react from the beginning. She leaves the stage as the band continues on with the melody. As she comes back on stage less the teacup, now sporting some new head-gear for “Lovely Head”. This song is entrancing with its whistles at the beginning bringing you softly into a dream like state. The chorus is so powerful and you can’t help but be blown away by it.

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“Strict Machine” begins with a brilliant, almost military style build up with pounding drums. This pounding drum sequence continues on teasing you until it kicks in. While it teases, the crowd grows in anticipation knowing what is to come. As the chorus drops and she begins, the crowd respond in creating a fever pitch atmosphere leaving not one single soul left standing still. The whole crowd yells along as she entertains like ever before. It was not only the best song of the night but also a highlight of my gig-attending career.

As the song ends and the band thank everyone within the building, the crowd go into a frenzy cheering and clapping. Everyone waits for another song as the band go off stage but as those dreaded house lights go up, that was to be it. Everyone in the crowd was puzzled as to why there was no encore. The problem was that due to her many costumes changes and with her exiting the stage so many times, that the actual encore which came after “Oh la la” was never noticed. All in all it was a terrific performance by one of the music industries leading performers. A pleasure to witness and a delight to have heard. I go away from the gig feeling a sense of euphoria not felt for a long time. Goldfrapp, I salute you.

Set List:
Intro:
• Voicething
Set:
• Crystalline Green
• You Never Know
• Dreaming
• Head First
• Number 1
• Alive
• Believer
• Shiny & Warm
• Train
• Ride a White Horse
• Ooh La La
Encore:
• Black Cherry
• Little Bird
• Lovely Head
• Strict Machine