Gig review Goldfrapp and We Were Evergreen at York Barbican

Alison Goldfrapp
Alison Goldfrapp
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It’s been four years since the glamour of one of Britain’s most original artists graced a Yorkshire stage.

Although the space-age 80s vibe of 2010’s Head First tour is a distant memory, many things in the world of Goldfrapp remain the same. Despite swapping her outfit made of glittery spandex and video tape for a black Stevie Nicks-esque suit with flowing chiffon sleeves and shoulder pads that would make Joan Crawford green with envy, Alison Goldfrapp’s enigmatic stage persona was still very much in essence as her namesake band graced the Barbican’s stage in York last Saturday.

Frapp’s warm-up act, Parisian band We Were Evergreen went down an absolute treat with the sold-out crowd. Their 30-minute set showcased songs from their upcoming album, Towards. The trio’s skills as performers and multi-instrumentalists had the audience nodding along to their hooky beats throughout.

Opening the show with David Bowie’s version of Peter and the Wolf, an opening very fitting to Goldfrapp’s latest album, Tales of Us, the band began with six songs from this release. Each of these songs had their own individual powers: the sadness of Jo, to the merriness of Drew, the eeriness of Stranger, the iciness of Alvar, the subdued Annabel and finally the joy of Clay, each invoked rapturous applause from the crowd.

Although Goldfrapp’s shyness was ever-present, she seemed very relaxed as she replied to heckles from the audience that she should have a vodka to sooth her throat when she announced she had a cold. When someone shouted “Play Rocket!”, a song from their last album, she pretended to think for a moment and quipped “Um... no.”, which sent the room into hysterics.

After a selection of tracks from previous albums, as well as a pounding rendition of Thea from Tales of Us, Goldfrapp invited the auditorium to stand up for the first real ‘hit’ of the evening, Number 1.

After Ride A White Horse and an absolutely stomping rendition of Train, which saw Alison assume her more familiar role as the dancing electro pop queen, they returned to the stage for an encore of hits including Utopia, Clowns and the two final songs, the piercing Lovely Head and biggest crowd-pleaser, Strict Machine, which saw Goldfrapp prove her awesome power as a vocalist- cold or no cold.

In one hour and 40 minutes, the 1,500 strong crowd had seen Goldfrapp turn slowly from a solemn and slow band to a heavy electronic group with pummelling disco beats and a dynamic frontwoman. As the room emptied after the show, there were more than a few surprised faces. Some punters who may have only been familiar with just one side of the Goldfrapp coin certainly got a lot more than they bargained for.

Gig date: April 5

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