fri 19/07/2024

Goldfrapp, Symphony Hall, Birmingham | reviews, news & interviews

Goldfrapp, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Goldfrapp, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Folktronic-heavy set from Bristol's veteran electro-poppers

Alison Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp have already toured new album, Tales of Us, having hit the road in the UK and Europe last autumn.

However, they are back for some more and on the first date of the spring leg of their live shows, Alison Goldfrapp and her five-strong backing band take to the stage at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall as the spoken introduction to Peter and the Wolf fades out with “Are you comfortable? Then let us begin.” Gone, it seems, are the clown, Marlene Dietrich and military kitsch of previous tours, as the tastefully black-clad group opened with “Jo” and slipped straight into the magic realism-infused atmosphere of the new album. Something that was driven home by the dark, forest-like backdrop behind the drum kit.

Singer Alison Goldfrapp looked somewhat nervous at first, making a joke of “Is there something you can take for nerves? Maybe I should start taking drugs. After all, you’re never too old to start!” with tongue firmly in cheek. However, tunes like “Drew” “Alvar” and “Annabel” still managed to enthral with their whoozy, breathy vocals floating above a folktronic backing with orchestral flourishes. “Little Bird”, from 2008’s Seventh Tree album, took the almost electro-hippy groove one step further, as the band jammed into spacey, early Pink Floyd territory, while Alison wandered off the stage for a breather. When she returned, the mellow vibe was pushed to one side and the band broke into the harsher electronic sound of “You Never Know” and the electro-pop of “Number 1” from 2005’s Grammy-nominated Supernature album.

With the crowd finally in their feet, the band struck up “Thea”, from Tales of Us - not one of their most energetic tunes. Still, the packed house stuck with it and they were rewarded with the glam stomp of “Ride a White Horse” (after a false start explained by “There was something wrong. It was me!”) and Goldfrapp’s signature tune, “Ooh La La”, as well as the chance to shake a leg.

After a short break, Goldfrapp returned to encore with the luscious “Utopia”, with its Enrico Morricone-esque textures, and “Lovely Head” - a couple of tunes from 2000’s trip-hop inspired, debut album Felt Mountain. However, the sophisticated cool was again banished for an electro thumping finale of “Train” and “Strict Machine” from 2003’s breakthrough album, Black Cherry.

Tonight, Goldfrapp played a set that was very heavy on the downtempo and almost wistful new album, Tales of Us, as you might expect. However, by leaving their more lively material to the end, rather than peppering the set with more swinging tunes, it created a gig “of two halves” rather than a show that flowed naturally. Nevertheless, if you fancy an evening of sophisticated grooves that never noodle, Goldfrapp are well-worth the entrance fee.

Gone, it seems, are the clown, Marlene Dietrich and military kitsch of previous tours


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article


Well written review. Just a wee correction to your quote - Alison said 'there was something wrong and it WASN'T me'

Worth mentioning as I haven't seen it said but the Peter & The Wolf narration at the start of the show was a 1975 recording by David Bowie..!!

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters