By Michel Dussack
Grouplove haven’t been around for very long (their debut LP came out just nine months ago), but thanks to an infectious set of tunes, and a push into the mainstream via an iPod commercial, they’re already selling out decent sized clubs like Webster Hall. Along with them on this tour are Reptar, an indie dance quintet from the college town of Athens, Georgia.
While Reptar’s debut LP came out just last month, they’ve already supported several high profile bands on tour, most notably, Foster the People on their fall tour. The band has been getting considerable buzz since the 2011 release of their EP ‘Oblangle Fizz Y’all’ and the recent release of their debut full length, ‘Body Faucet’ and lead single ‘Sebastian’ have only furthered that. Their music is hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t listened, and the band describe themselves as “disco dust” which is about as vague as it gets. They’re part rock, part dance, and all awesome.
For as good as the band is on record though, it’s live where they truly shine. While it took a while for them to get the crowd going with an extended slower intro track, by the end of their 40 minute set, they converted the packed venue into fans. Highlights of their set included ‘Blastoff’ and an untitled new song that had everyone in the crowd bouncing with the band. Singer and guitarist Graham Ulicny was the star of the show, his vocals were spot on and he provided a positive energy on stage that’s hard to translate on paper. When it came time for their set to end, the crowd seemed genuinely upset to say goodbye, though they definitely were excited for Grouplove.
When Grouplove took the stage to two of their most popular non singles – ‘Lovely Cup’ and ‘Itchin’ on a Photograph’ – the floor of Webster Hall was bouncing so much that it was difficult to steady my camera. If that doesn’t show how much infectious energy the band gives off, then I don’t really know what does. This leads me to the one negative aspect that should be brought up about this show – the pacing. While starting off with two of your most upbeat songs is indeed a great way to get the crowd going, it wasn’t until the end of the night that the band seemed able to recapture that energy. Slower numbers like ‘Betty’s a Bombshell’ seemed to put a damper on the crowd, but only for a short while. It’s not that any of the songs were bad; it’s just that some material seemed more captivating for a live environment than others.
The most impressive thing about a Grouplove show is watching the different members take lead vocal duty on certain songs. Everyone in the band has their own style (and accents) and it came across in the eclectic 75 minute performance. One of the standouts of the night was a brand new song, entitled ‘Gonna Get High’ which is about, as Hannah Hooper so eloquently put it, “getting high”. ‘Slow’, led by Hooper, started off exactly as one would expect it to, but was given a raucous extended outro to close out the bands set. When they returned for their encore, it was back to Christian Zucconi, now sporting purple hair, for lead vocals. The band ended the show with a trifecta of ‘Tongue Tied’, a portion of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and ‘Colours’. With this, the band ended the night just as they started it – full of energy, with lots of jumping and yelling.
1. Lovely Cup
2. Itchin’ on a Photograph
3. Love Will Save Your Soul
4. Betty’s a Bombshell
5. Gold Coast
6. Gonna Get High
7. Naked Kids
10. Close Your Eyes and Count to Ten
12. Don’t Say Oh Well
13. Tongue Tied
14. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston cover)