Question: What''s the difference between Groove Amarda and a rock band?
Answer: A rock band plays for longer
The first of a three night stand at the massive Hordern, this 90 minute show proved so popular that an anonymous man offered me $100 cash for my ticket out the front. Once I finally got inside, I ended up doing more wriggling than dancing.
Fresh on the tail of promoting their new album Lovebox - British duo Groove Armada, complete with 6 piece band, have managed to build on previous albums while also challenging their audiences with new directions. Starting out as a chill-house DJ-and-trombone act, tonight they seem to have manifested into a hit-frenzied funk rock combo.
Their performance is a lot tighter than last year, which is a bad thing, with guitar more prominent on every song. Madder, one of the better songs off the new CD is a rock song in every sense - delivered in a high intensity live dosage that had the whole crowd leaping in the air. Surprisingly, the most inspired highlight was the generic house track Fogma. Originally an instrumental on Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub) - now a hip-hopping come fuck-off loud guitar anthem (complete some wicked MCing from collaborator M.A.D. too).
Also, their trademark spacey instrumentals, like Edge Hill and Lazy Moon, which were previously building explorations, are now underdeveloped and short. Superstylin'' too could have been longer - it was delivered with such energtic complacency it was like watching Van Halen play Jump rather than witnessing a DJ trying to get the crowd going. (A month ago Underworld managed to make Born Slippy feel like a new journey rather than a tired necessity - not so G.A.).
Aside from being way too crowded for someone as short as myself (I smell an oversell) - the show''s main disappointment was the short set length. Perhaps they were saving themselves up for the following nights.
Innovative, brash and accomplished, Groove Amarda went off - and it was great to hear such danceable music delivered flawlessly on real instruments (pay attention Pnau - this is kind of music you could be playing). Vocalists M.A.D. and Sunshine Anderson were nicely integrated too - completing the bands current musical progression.
The way things are going, Andy, Tom and co will be playing stadiums next tour. Groove Armada are quickly setting themselves up to be one of the biggest (and most genre defying) dance music acts of the naughties.