Groove Armada review – live at the Powerstation, Auckland

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.

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5 Responses to Groove Armada review – live at the Powerstation, Auckland

  1. dbmcnz says:

    Classic. MC Matt was hot…hootchie mama strikes again.

  2. hootchie mama says:

    WORD! Personally gave them practically word-for-word with your review this constructive feedback well into the wee hours on Fri morning and beyond. Just wish I could more clearly remember their reponses but I do remember they seemed to take it on board and in their stride. All was forgiven when their MC Matt aka M.A.D sang along with my very drunken rendition of Gwen McRae’s “keep the fires burning”. Proved to me the guy has bucket loads of soul and a truly nice guy to boot. Oh and he’s going solo. I do remember that!

  3. dbmcnz says:

    Agree Suzie, We couldn’t get over the age of the crowd…hahaha. They are still very good, whether you like the new direction or not.


  4. Suzie says:

    Totally agree Darryl – my highlight however was seeing so many of the ‘old skool’ crowd out together in one venue… so in the company of good friends I thoroughly enjoyed the night and the show, but it was a bit too electronic / rock orientated for me rather than the Groove Amada I know and love and paid to see – so musically was a bit confused – but they are still very good.

  5. mark says:

    Agreed, while a band needs to adapt their sound to the current, they need to seed their sound to the market first. Energy was lost, the show seemed thrown together and you know you are in Auckland when the power gets lost. A night out none-the-less.

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