So Goldfrapp return to Ireland on their Head First world tour, no doubt hoping to confine last July’s Oxegen appearance to distant memory. Going up against the might of Jay-Z in an unfortunate schedule clash was never going to be an easy task, but having the latter half of the performance marred by rowdy David Guetta fans eager to get a spot for his headline set certainly didn’t help proceedings either. It was a gig to forget, even for the most dedicated of fans.
Tonight is an altogether different setting; it’s a sell-out affair in the Olympia Theatre and all eyes are firmly on Alison Goldfrapp. One by one, the metallic silver-clad members of the band appear onstage, building up anticipation with a sprawling intro of ‘Voicething’. The lady herself finally appears to a rapturous reception, and launches straight into an impressive opening duo of ‘Crystalline Green’ and ‘You Never Know’. Vocals are on form from the offset.
Oddly, the key tracks from the latest album are churned out altogether mid-set. The sublime ‘Number 1’ provides the only vintage respite between no less than five tracks from Head First clustered together. This is no bad thing, however. ‘Believer’ and ‘Alive’ are effortlessly catchy songs and are performed with a level of enthusiasm not normally seen from Alison Goldfrapp. This new-found gusto works very much in her favour and continues throughout the set, with emphatic performances of hard-hitting trio ‘Train’, ‘Ride a White Horse’ and ‘Ooh La La’ leaving the capacity crowd hanging on her every note.
Following a brief break, Goldfrapp returns to the stage with not just a change of costume, but a complete change of tempo too. It’s moody atmospheric electronica that’s on the menu for the encore. Thankfully, despite earlier concern, she has not forgotten that she did actually make an album in between Supernature and Head First; ‘Little Bird’ may be the only track from the criminally underrated Seventh Tree to get an airing tonight, but what a treat it is. The surprising omission of ‘Rocket’ means that ‘Strict Machine’ is left to close out the set, sending the crowd back into an absolute frenzy as it can always be trusted to do.
It must be said that the leading lady’s stage-presence has come on remarkably. Chatting between songs, engaging her audience, and even smiling – is this the same Alison Goldfrapp who stopped a gig in Tripod two years ago because somebody dared take a photo of her!? She has always been a performer of the highest order – but now appears to have found the personality to match. Long may it last.
Photos: Julie Bienvenu
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