When the ever-alluring Alison Goldfrapp stands centre stage it is impossible to take your eyes off her as a fan blows through her golden locks and sky blue cape. She is the temptress about to guide the crowd into her electro-glam sound, ably assisted by a band than brings that all-important live dimension to Goldfrapp composer Will Gregory’s sound. Synths, strings, dirty basslines, guitars and the voice of Alison both angelic and sultry, is enough to demolish anyone’s eardrums.
The show starts with a track from their latest album, Supernature: “U Never Know”. With dramatic synths and soaring vocals erupting through the room, it is an announcement Goldfrapp are here to entertain by sending the music vibrating through your body. It is unsurprising that Supernature is the focus of the gig tonight and stompers such as “Oh La La” and “Slide In” were perfect to get feet moving. Set next to the dreamlike violins of “Time Out From The World” and the whistling of old favourite “Lovely Head” from Felt Mountain, the show is a sublime mix of energy and tranquil delight.
A Goldfrapp gig is a lot of fun. “Number 1”, with its uplifting synths almost serenading Alison’s vocal talents and “Ride a White Horse” with its bubbling bassline provide diverse dance material. Of course, Goldfrapp also have the stand-out Black Cherry tracks for some more electro-disco moments. “Train” powers along while “Strict Machine” is saved for the penultimate song for maximum impact. These tracks paved the way for much of Supernature, and it is easy to see why when they are performed alongside the new material. The fusion of synths, strings and rumbling bass on these are more raw and therefore deliver a much dirtier sound live.
The show was a sublime mix of energy and tranquil delight.
It was a shame that much of the Southampton audience had not brought their dancing shoes to the show — it was left to the few to give positive feedback during the songs by losing themselves to the Goldfrapp sound. Rapturous applause greeted every track, however, and a technical hitch during the encore did not deter the group from pleasingly rounding things off with the serene “Black Cherry”, an antidote to the electro-glam sounds of the night.
Hearing them live, they could play with their songs a little more, but hopefully that will come with time. Indeed, you could also argue that Goldfrapp should work on the endings to their songs. Often they build dramatically only to end almost too early, but that is testament to the confidence they have in their material: it leaves you gasping for more. Add that to the fact that Alison’s voice really needs to be heard live — to fully appreciate both her range and the sudden changes of pitch. Goldfrapp are destined to be the dirty darlings of any festivals they play this summer, or any summer for that matter.