Before I get into their performance, I think it is imperative to give a little “Gorillaz 101.” Gorillaz is a virtual band formed by Damon Albarn (lead singer of Blur) and Jamie Hewlett (comic book designer). The animated members consist of Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noode (guitar & keys), and Russel Hobbs (drums). These members are fictional and aren’t real life musicians with Gorillaz being depicted through music videos and cartoons. Essentially, Damon Albarn is the only permanent member of the band, collaborating with various artists and musicians creating an eclectic repertoire of music. Damon Albarn has collaborated with Lou Reed, Paul Simon and Mick Jones of The Clash, and Snoop Dog…just to name a few. Gorillaz’s music includes several genres: alternative rock, alternative hip hop, electronica, indie rock, Britpop, dance rock, reggae, and pop.
In 2001, their debut album Gorillaz sold over seven million copies. Their second album Demon Days (2005) went 6 times platinum in the UK and double platinum in the US. Subsequent albums include Plastic Beach (March 2010), The Fall (December 2010), and there latest, Humanz, released on April 28 of this year. D-Sides was released in 2007 as a compilation album of B- sides, remixes, and bonus tracks. Now, back to last night…
The Gorillaz performed with enchantment and mesmerized the audience with not only unique visuals but with an amazing band and choir. Damon Albarn fronted a remarkable line up of talented musicians, artists, and performers as he rocked vocals, keys, and guitar. The diverse set not only covered the best of the Gorillaz’s albums but also demonstrated their diverse, extensive compilations. Opening up with “M1 A1,” the room filled with high packed energy and excitement. The cinematics and stage production captivated me. I was paralyzed with astonishment and wonder as they went right into “Last Living Souls.” The interesting nature of the show captured the duality of the Gorillaz. For the first time, I saw the actual musicians and intricacies which backed the cartooned visuals and videos I have loved for 16 years. The nature of the show demonstrated diversity, performing classics such as “Clint Eastwood” (Gorillaz, 2001) “El Mañana” (Demon Days, 2005), and “Every Planet We Reach is Dead” (Demon Days, 2005), and Rhinestone Eyes (Plastic Beach, 2010) on top of performing their newest hits off the Humanz (April, 2017) album, which included “Sex Murder Party,” “Adromeda,” and “Strobelite.”
While the band is virtual, the show focused on the music. I appreciated the nature of Albarn’s performance- very little talking between songs. Also, the choir and backing band were constantly highlighted throughout the performance, which demonstrated the unpretentious and multi-faceted nature of the project on top of classic and new music videos, showcasing Jamie Hewlett’s artistry. Golliraz showcased a unique and fascinating experience, transcending the beauty and pain of human life through music and video. It was more than “just a concert.” It was euphoric and exhilarating, showcasing just about every modern music genre.