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Review: Goldfrapp Live

Goldfrapp are currently on a European tour in support of their 2010 'Head First'. This review is from their gig in Norwich last week.

Goldfrapp at Norwich, UEA – 8.11.2010

Goldfrapp stands as one of the year's most expensive shows at the University of East Anglia's premier gig venue, the LCR, at £22.50. With this in mind, the night got off to a disappointingly tame and somewhat lacklustre start with a DJ set from the lone support act of the night Retro Grade. The repetitive nature of Retro Grade's chosen tracklisting, from one monotonous beat or bassline to the next, only served to bore the crowd who waited patiently for Goldfrapp to arrive on stage around 9.15pm. Small gatherings of people stood and spoke amongst themselves for the majority of Retro Grade's hour and a half on-stage. I was less patient and cunningly escaped to the union bar below for a student-price pint or two. Prices inside the LCR itself are between 20% and 25% higher than the bar below and queues are twice that. You'll pay £2.80 for a standard pint inside the venue and £2.10 at the bar below.

For me, the quick trip downstairs saved not only time and money but provided a much-needed break from the tedious Retro Grade playlist.
Upon returning, cheap-pint in hand, Goldfrapp's stage set-up had been revealed with the removal of a huge black curtain. Behind it stood an impressive, shimmering circle of fabric in the shape of a speaker that had remained hidden during Retro Grade's set. Brightly coloured lights bounced off it onto the stage making for an eye-catching visual display.

Goldfrapp appeared on stage promptly, sporting similarly styled costumes with front woman Alison Goldfrapp's flamboyance showing itself in the form of a frayed, jacket made from what seemed to be strips of VHS tape. A mid-set costume change also brought the evening's most memorable visual attraction as she returned in a cupcake-shaped lace dress. They began with an unconvincing trio of tracks that for a majority of the audience were unrecognisable. Voicething and Shiny & Warm melted into one another as the band performed an almost entirely instrumental opening to the show. Soon enough however things kicked off as the band began to deliver hit after hit. Recent single Rocket marked the start of what was to be a fantastically enjoyable performance.

The night wasn't without it's problems, as some technical difficulties forced the band to stop and start a handful of songs, but after half an hour in the crowd and band alike were firmly enjoying every minute. Ride A White Horse, Ooh La La, Number 1 and Strict Machine all came in quick succession and the fans, having been asked how everything was going, cheered for the sound to be turned up. The band and the sound technicians obliged and as a venue that proves time and again that its sound system is of the very highest quality the LCR was soon thumping to the basslines and rhythms of Goldfrapp's best-loved tracks.

Perhaps the greatest compliment to the band, and their fan base too, is the warmth and atmosphere of their live shows. Fans listen respectfully to the music and the band listens with sincerity to the requests of the audience. Had it not been for a below-par support act the night would have been near-perfect and they're a group I will be actively striving to see again as soon as possible.

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