So I’ve got all the albums, even the new one, and I loved Felt Mountain. I have some proper happy memories attached to that one. It’s all weird and creepy and trippy and I’m not sure I know any other albums like it. I like that each album is pretty different, and I think I could pick a couple of stand-out tracks of each one. But, despite having been a fan since, like, practically forever, I had never seen them live.
I put this down entirely to the fact that I never know when anything is happening. I would have missed this one too if @xSconesa hadn’t told me about it, and went to the box office, and got the tickets. So, as is always the case, it is her who is in credit and me in debit in our relationship at the moment. I get dry sweats at night thinking about the day she cancels my tick-line. All the favours I’ll have to do. All the ears I’ll have to bend. All the new debts I’ll assume setting this one straight. Anyway, that is a horror story for another day.
So, having established, I think quite firmly, my level of qualification for this procedure, I will now, I think, describe my experience of the gig, then arbitrarily assign that experience a number between 1 and 10, as I have seen this format used in similar such reviews.
First of all, we were sitting down. I had never been to a sitting down gig before, and to be honest, I was quite looking forward to it. As I’ve got older and become more embittered and isolated, I’ve noticed that am much less willing to put up with physical contact with strangers. And I am delighted to report that I cannot recall a single incidence of unwanted physical contact at the concert. I also looked forward to having a chair–an excellent feature of a chair is it gives you somewhere to put you drink down and hang your jacket around, the indoor temperature being traditionally higher than the outdoor temperature in this part of the world.
One downer however was the geriatric warden of the upper seating enclosure, who refused to allow me to take a bottle of beer into the arena, and insisted I decant it into a plastic beaker. Despite my bold assertion that this was bad for the environment, he would not be drawn into negotiations. In fairness, he was probably just ruthlessly applying the rules created by some pencil-pushing super-warden, but I was still quite hurt and upset by the telling off, and lost a good ten minutes of my life to complaining bitterly about this, while fighting back tears.
As a result of this this, I missed the support band in its entirety, so I have decided to exclude them from this review. After a while of sitting in the lit auditorium, looking at my fellow concert-goers, and debating the merits of their dress (I felt a lot of the attendees had went to some effort–I saw quite a few pairs of obviously brand new Levi’s and New Balance trainers. I just wore the same outfit I’d worn to work) the lights were dimmed and the band came on. They started with quieter, folksy songs from the newer albums, and this worked well in the venue. Everyone sat and watched. I squeezed @xSconesa’s hand. This was good.
Then they started playing older stuff – it got a bit noisier, and the light show was dramatic. It was pretty cool. In a gap between songs, Alison asked how we were. An audience member shouted something out–like ‘Hello, I’m fine thanks, how are you Alison?’ in a funny, familiar way. I noted down ‘If only I had a bottle to throw, now would be the time.’ But I spoke too soon. At the end of the next song, a jam happens. Alison has left the stage, leaving the musicians in the spotlight. This is their opportunity, and they take it: twisting the melody in odd directions, bending the tempo around. The audience starts to clap along. It really gets going just before the final flourish, during which all obedience to the time signature is quashed, leaving the clappers in disarray, and me furious.
There is a time and a place for clapping along. 1939, The Hitler Youth Jamboree.
But it was over quick enough, thankfully. We are fast approaching the end of the first stint, and Alison encourages the audience to stand up, should they feel the need, for the last couple of songs. A lot do. I don’t as I’m sitting in the upper seating area and I’m scared of heights to be honest. I find the fact that some people are sitting and some standing a bit distracting, but hey ho. I notice that the time has passed really quite quickly. I believe I have been enjoying myself. At some point, I remark to @xSconesa that Alison sings very well live. I was skeptical when she declared that she had a bit of a cold.
Anyway, as the set comes to a climax, two chubby, shapeless-blob females get up within my line of sight and the stage, and sort of blob about, dance-ishly. The brighter strobe lights give me an opportunity to really look at the crowd. And realize how old I am. So many bored middle-aged males, accompanying the females to whom they feign an interest in this sort of thing. That’s despicably cynical. I wonder if I looked sad? I bet I did at some points. The set comes to an end, and I go to the bathroom, after remarking to @xSconesa that they haven’t played anything off Felt Mountain, my very favourite of the Goldfrapp albums.
I return, in time for the latter half of Utopia, my very favourite Goldfrapp song from my very favourite Goldfrapp album. I enjoy this immensely. In fact, I’m almost tempted to join in with the clapping as she sings ‘Fasces baby, utop—ia, utop—-‘. I tried to sing along at one point, but it was a failure, a real low-point for my credibility in fact, and I don’t try again.
The two shapeless ladies continue to blob about. They dance like lava lamps doing the the hoover, box, explode-the-pigeon dance. Clowns comes on, they blob for a few bars, then blob their heads at each other and accept that it really isn’t a dancing one. I enjoy this immensely. I laughed out loud for a while, which was cruel I suppose.
And then Lovely Head is played. It is just so good. They caught it so well live. I thought Utopia had’t been nailed quite as well. It was still great, and a terrible shame to have missed half of it, but Lovely Head makes up for that. Then it ends on Strict Machine. The two girls get back up and blob about it. Actually, everyone is up and dancing now. Except me. Why am I such a stick in the mud? At least I don’t look silly. Look at you all, with your hands in the air, shaking your bums clumsily in the space between the seats.
Look at me, sitting there, my view blocked by flailing elbows. My ear-ways impeded by the hitler-youth hand claps of the can’t dance/must do something brigade. Sitting there, pretending to still be watching the show, even though all I can see is the back of the tee-shirt of the boogying daddy in front of me.
I really must commend the wardens on their ‘no bottles’ policy, which was the only thing that stopped me from committing an atrocity.