(Photo: Goldfrapp at Manchester Academy 2005)
Goldfrapp / Vib Gyor - Manchester Ritz - 18.4.06
It's impossible to mention Vib Gyor without mentioning the huge debt they owe to Radiohead, but today where a reference point such as that usually signifies some watered down version of Keane or even more shocking Kubb. Vib Gyor tower like a band at the top of their game headlining Glastonbury. It doesn't matter that this is The Ritz of its bouncy floored infamy or that they seem totally mismatched supporting Goldfrapp because tonight there's a spine-tingling beauty and the cliché of the hairs standing up at the back of your neck overrides being a cliché because it actually rings true. We first saw the band at In The City 2004, the same venue that the then unknown Nizlopi played, and rest assured that after the long slog it looks like Vib Gyor are finally breaking through.
While other Designer Magazine correspondents have seen Goldfrapp in their full electro gory, the odd festival moment excepted, it's been a while since Alison and I last exchanged glances. In many ways it's the pre-electro glam period which still hold most memories, the time before Rachel Stevens starting pilfering their tracks and when Alison was an ice queen as opposed to dominatrix sex kitten.
Sauntering on-stage with a little black number, Goldfrapp casuals if you will, Alison is almost out dressed by her male bandmates who look like they've stepped out of a Jean-Paul Gautier advert meet Jesus on electric violin and occasional synths. But as soon as those vocals kick in during "Utopia" the focus is back to centre stage with falsetto vocals shrill enough to break glass. The modern Frapp arrives on "The Train", all pulsating synth bass and dancers somewhere between the Moulin Rouge and Teen Wolf, "Sign" sounds like Prince's New Power Generation as fronted by Madonna and "Get It On" has geisha girls that look like Pete Burns.
"I'm not usually this quiet" jokes Alison mockingly halfway through tonight's show as she's a proverbial chatterbox normally. She does have a mystique and allure about her that few frontwomen have and while she's sexually suggestive she's never crass with it. The natural highlights come when the singles kick in with "Ride A White Horse", naturally backed by dancers with horse heads, and "Ooh La La La". Returning for an encore, a trio of classic Goldfrapp moments with the luxurious "Black Cherry", the guilty synth pleasure of "Number 1" and T-Rex-ified "Strict Machine".
Goldfrapp left us feeling full of the sound of modern electro pop but with everyone from Sugababes and Girls Aloud tapping into their winning formula they need to move onto pastures new to make them stand out from the pack in the same way that "Felt Mountain" and "Strict Machine" stuck out as shining original moments.
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