Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gorillaz LIVE: Art, Apocalypse, and Yukimi Nagano

Gibson Amphitheater, Los Angeles 10/27/10


Gorillaz ringleader Damon Albarn has made sure the collective's "Plastic Beach" is awash with ravishing pleasure to haunt its vast scrapheap of other treasures, including
1. Bobby Womack letting loose the sacredness in soul
2. Lou Reed blistering his guitar solo
3. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash  (THE CLASH!)  blistering everything they touched all night
4. De la Soul proving laughter is the best medicine
5. Guest Arab musicians on stage continuing the interchange Gorillaz started by playing Damascus, Syria this past July
6. Snoop Dogg at his dreamiest opening the show
7. Albarn's playfully unpretentious role during the whole ninety minute set and long encore
8. Miho Hatori, Bootie Brown, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Bashy, Kano, Roses Gabor, the head of Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder singing on "Dare"
9. Jamie Hewlett's fierce-and-getting-fiercer videos (I mention this near the end because a few people still think that only cartoons appear at a Gorillaz live show. They'd enjoy getting themselves to one of the remaining concerts on this tour and see the sea of humanity that works the stage during Escape to Plastic Beach's unprecedented extravaganza.)
10. Much, much more . . .
The number of gifts offered up at LA's Gibson Amphitheater on the night of Oct. 27 is way longer than this list. The mosaic of different elements and moods, all harmonious, is dizzying. Seemingly incompatible people and ideas can mix well and create something valuable: this is news. (Everyone should try this at home. They should definitely try this approach in, say, Washington D.C.)

On top of this, when ravishment comes courtesy of Little Dragon's frontwoman/siren Yukimi Nagano — pictured above—on "Empire Ants" and "To Binge," Gorillaz's project becomes jaw-dropping in a whole new way: they own your heart. And pulse. And dropped jaw. And every other body part. Gorillaz can do gorgeousness, in addition to everything else they excel at.  Take a LISTEN at their site:

Little Dragon is a Swedish pop band specializing in synth/art-cabaret, with its own releases, 2007's eponymous debut and 2009's "Machine Dreams." LINK to their video "Constant Surprises"

2010's "Plastic Beach" is the third Gorillaz album. Their self-titled debut appeared in 2001, featuring songs like "Clint Eastwood" and "19-2000" and sold over seven million copies. The follow-up, "Demon Days" went double platinum in the U.S., won a Grammy, and has been designated quintuple-platinum in the U.K. Music writers and fans jabber about the meaning and limits of Gorillaz's status as a virtual cartoon band. Or not. Many lament Albarn's reluctance to resuscitate Blur. They worry dormant Blur is collateral damage incurred during Albarn's flight from pop music's fame game. They fret that he disappeared into the plasticity of Gorillaz. But these speculations take attention away from something remarkable that this latest Gorillaz album accomplishes. "Plastic Beach" actually functions as a long-playing album was meant to—and too few do these days. One song leads inevitably into the next, as the LP delivers big-time on its promise to create its own self-enclosed, unique world. Repeated listenings deepen appreciation for this flow. And regard for the tunes. The "Plastic Beach" world is filled with bad news and beautiful beats, eco-disasters set in party anthems and plaintive pop tunes to make your heart beat faster. Light, deep, airy, visionary, "Plastic Beach" is unsparing in its diagnosis of the damage the human race keeps visiting on its one world.

And, finally, "Plastic Beach" lets Nagano melt Albarn's gift for early Bowie and Ray Davies-derived songwriting into a warm afterworld to console us for the mess we've made by globally-overwarming this one. 
Gorillaz North American tour ends in Vancouver Nov. 3 and they head to Europe, the U.K., Australia, and Asia.
10-30 – Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
11-02 – Seattle, WA - Key Arena
11-03 – Vancouver, British Columbia - Rogers Arena
11-11 – Dublin, Ireland - O2 Arena
11-12 – Manchester, England - Evening News Arena
11-14 – London, England - O2 Arena
11-15 – Amsterdam, Netherlands - Heineken Music Hall
11-17 – Birmingham, England - NIA
11-18 – Brighton, England - Centre
11-21 – Berlin, Germany - Velodrom
11-23 – Paris, France - Zenith
11-25 – Antwerp, Belgium - Lotto
12-06 – Perth, Australia - Burswood Dome
12-08 – Adelaide, Australia - Entertainment Centre
12-11 – Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver
12-16 – Sydney, Australia - Entertainment Centre
12-19 – Brisbane, Australia - Entertainment Centre
12-21 – Auckland, New Zealand - Vector Arena


Check out their website loaded with games and distractions as well as tour info. Plus this video for their song "On Melancholy Hill." CLICK for video and Gorillaz official site


Whirling dervishes. Hip-Hop. Arab Musicians sitting in. Pop. Punk. Soul.  De la Soul laughing like mad . . . 

Set List: Gorillaz at Gibson

"Welcome To The World"
"Last Living Souls"
"19-2000"
"Stylo"
"On Melancholy Hill"
"Rhinestone Eyes"
"Superfast Jellyfish"
"Tomorrow Comes Today"
"Empire Ants"
"Some Kind Of Nature" (w/ Lou Reed)
"Broken"
"Dirty Harry"
"Doncomatic"
"El Manana"
"White Flag"
"To Binge"
"Dare"
"Glitter Freeze"
"Plastic Beach"
Encore:
"Cloud of Unknowing"
"Feel Good Inc."
"Clint Eastwood"
"Don't Get Lost In Heaven"
"Demon Days"




Special Guest Lou Reed Joins Gorillaz onstage at the Gibson Amphitheater 10/27/10


Damon Albarn mixes musical styles with grace



This post is the first in a three-part series about contemporary music’s great collectives. Arcade Fire, set to guest on SNL Nov. 13, 2010, and of Montreal, on tour with Janelle Monae, are the other two subjects. (Godspeed You! Black Emperor will provide an occasion for a coda early next year.)

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