Words by Bryan Crawford
Los Angeles, CA — In front of me is a jubilant fivesome of pseudo-youngsters who each look like characters from a John Hughes film. The Troubadour is packed like an Italian football match, with people leaning over rails and standing absolutely everywhere and for the past hour there’s been hand-clapping, sing-alongs and just general joyfulness. Did I mention I’m having a good time? It’s fun.
ANYWAY I begin to think, music like this reminds me of why it is often said that ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ Sure you could Youtube Grouplove’s stuff, or buy their album (and you should), but what you really ought to do is simply go see them. More on that in a minute.
KCRW’s Chris Douridas said onstage during his brief introduction of Grouplove “they’re one of the best live bands around,” which seemed about as quantifiable as saying they had the loveliest shoes of all the bands in LA, but no one seemed to mind. The gang began with ‘Don’t Say Oh Well,’ off of their 2010 self-titled EP, which started things off cheerily enough. It’s an up-tempo tune, relatively speaking, and with occasional yells and handclaps, it’s a ready-made windows-down summertime song simply a few seasons early (for some of you).
‘Lovely Cup’ came next, with Lead singer/guitarist Christian Zucconi’s lilting vocals and vocalist Hannah Hooper harmonizing beautifully/appropriately. Hooper dons an odd silver mask for the next few tunes, playing perfectly the part of the coquettish chanteuse.
‘Naked Kids’ epitomizes their anthemic sound, telling the story of an idyllic, if debauched beach day. ‘Gold Coast’ and ‘Tongue Tied’ were other highlights of the party, and the encore was my personal favourite, ‘Colours’.
Now, I know that saying a group is great in concert sounds suspiciously subjective, but if/when someone reports that an album sounds terrific, you don’t immediately think – that’s suspect; who KNOWS how many producers were tinkering with that mix before it made its way to print. Instead, an album being indicative of a band’s sound is a maxim of music, if perhaps a deceiving one. So, while saying ‘they’re awesome live’ may sound supremely experiential at first blush, that’s because it is. Sure, they have a full-length due out sometime this year, but I say go see them while they’re on tour and just try not to have an amazing time. It’s five friends playing each others’ head nodding tunes and having fun doing it. What’s not to love?
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