Having seen Groove Armada about 6 years ago play a phenomenal DJ Set and then 2 years ago at V Festival, Sydney and being blown away by their live act, my expectations were high for this Big Day Out sideshow in a smallish venue. It sold out pretty quick so others obviously shared my excitement. Posse in tow, we arrived at just before 9ish to an empty floor. Drinks, mingling and positioned up front, GA took the stage around 10.30pm, after a Nick D warm up.
They’re obviously touring the new studio album ‘Black Light’ (out February 22nd) as the set included many new songs. Why would you tour before the album release and play new stuff to people? The crowd responded best to the old stuff, so surely getting your album into punters ears before a tour would be better? Perhaps that’s just me – but I hate hearing new songs live.
Strutting up front is new addition Saint Saviour, a sassy, young vocalist clad in a multi-coloured futuristic-glam jumpsuit – very 80’s. The second song in was Song For Mutya (without Mutya sadly) from their last album Soundboy Rock, complete with a dazzling laser show. Ooh hands in the air! The crowd pleasers and dancefloor-friendly toons My Friend and gig-high-point Easy were given a wee makeover. Then back to some newies I Won’t Kneel and Warsaw. But, anyone who knows GA, knows a live gig is all about Superstylin’. A couple of minutes into this and the jumpin’ ceased due to a power cut (ironic at the Powerstation!) Some chanting, foot stompin’ and cheering ensued (like that would bring power *rolls eyes*) and 15 minutes later they were back to kick off Superstylin again’. Tick. Then, what seemed like an obligatory, shortened version of At The River – a stunning song written in 4 hours twelve years ago, seemed misplaced. No I See You Baby either.
Their signature tunes will be remembered for years – the new songs and sound, I doubt will be remembered next week. I felt a bit short changed as they swapped electronics and a ‘show’ for a much more raw guitars and 80’s-tinged power-pop sound which at times echoed Eurythmics, Gary Numan, Ting Tings and god forbid, Gaga. I guess this new direction (with collaborations with Bryan Ferry, Will Young and Nick Littlemore (Empire Of The Sun/PNAU) will help them to chart, but the musicality and depth was missing for me.