Gotye’s Mix of Ambient Electro Indie with a Masterful Cinematic Backdrop proves they’re no one trick pony. Live review from Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK, November 12th 2012

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Alternative Music, Art Rock, Indie, Indie Pop, Pop, Popular Music
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Gotye’s Mix of Ambient Electro Indie with a Masterful  Cinematic Backdrop proves they’re no one trick pony.

Gotye and Band perform with Dancing Skeletons on the Cinematic Backdrop, Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 12th 2012

Gotye and Band perform with Dancing Skeletons on the Cinematic Backdrop, Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 12th 2012

Most will associate Gotye with the massive international hit of the year “Someone that I used to know”.  This tune that is as catchy as it is quirky has been reigning supreme at the top many country’s charts making it one of the biggest sellers in the world in 2012.

If truth be told, it is probably the main reason why many people have been going to the see this charismatic singer from Melbourne and his band in concert and I’m sure many just expected to hear a couple of decent tunes, a bit of padding, a lot of speech and the big climax with the one big hit. But then, that’s not taking into account that Gotye’s 3rd and most commercially successful to date has also broken into the Top 10 in most major music markets.  What the audience were treated to was actually breathtakingly good.  The ambient indie electro beat as well as Gotye’s  ( aka Wouter De Backer) vocals blended seamlessly with the amazing cinematic backdrop. It really was a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its two parts.

The band eased into the performance with the very short but relaxed sound of “Making Mirrors” the title and opening track of the album followed by a far more up-tempo but mournful eastern tinged song called “The Only Way” – about the last moments of death against a kaleidoscope of smoke filled shapes.

The sombre atmosphere continued on the somewhat gloomy sounding “What do you want” in amongst which from the cinematic backdrop were the animated form of a sinister looking pin striped suited man looking  down on the audience and lip synching some of the words as well as dancing monochromatic  animated skeletons.

The atmosphere lightened considerably for “The Easy Way Out” with its meaty baseline, drums, and symphonic dashes of synth, reminiscent of early solo Peter Gabriel. This was accompanied by another animation of running figures; characters that looked like they just dropped out of the latest Akira film.

Gotye and band performs "The Easy Way Out" with Japanese Style Animation, Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK, November 12th 2012

Gotye and band performs “The Easy Way Out” with Japanese Style Animation, Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK, November 12th 2012

“Eyes Wide Open”, with an A-ha style rhythm gave us  a series of beautiful desolate cinematic landscapes  whereas “Smoke and Mirrors” saw a series of sketched figures and heads bursting out of one another like a Russian doll as well as Gotye demonstrating his prowess as a drummer at the end of the song.

But surely the highlight of the show had to be “State of the Art” whose lyrics and cinematic concept had an average animated family taken over by a keyboard entertainment centre that gets ever bigger and more powerful and takes control of the  house. The house eventually takes off into outer space, passes a bemused astronaut and when its lands the family members are eventually integrated into the system as organ pipes.  The animation is perfectly in synch, especially when the animated organ pipes mouths the words of Mr De Baker vocals. It’s an amazing piece of concept art with amazing attention to detail but then this applies to the whole concert.

The Entertainment Centre takes over. Gotye performing State of the Art at Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 12th 2012

The Entertainment Centre takes over. Gotye performing State of the Art at Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 12th 2012

The BIG HIT was, of course not neglected but neither did Gotye fall into the cliché of leaving it until the end. Cleverly, during the verse that Kimbra should sing, he fell silent and the audience picked it up very well.

The encore proved equally brilliant for the animation on the instrumental  “Seven Hours with a Backseat Driver” with a  nervous naive purple elephant strolling tentatively through a town full of various malevolent looking animals , this obviously being an allegory of a country boy in the big bad city.

The fun continued with the band going full throttle on the soul tinged 60’s rhythmed  “I Feel Better”  and “Learnalilgivinanlovin” and many up on their feet dancing in the balcony. This was an uplifting end to the show and finishing with a drumming extravaganza by Gotye and his drummer, it brought the house down.

Gotye shows off his drumming skills, Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 12th 2012

Gotye shows off his drumming skills, Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 12th 2012

I can only say that Gotye is no one trick pony.  This music and cinema in this show combined to produce a masterpiece of iconic live artistic performance that will live long in the memory.

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Comments
  1. […] Here’s a lovely and thoughtful review from one of the London shows last week! […]

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