After the usual false starts, it feels as if the summer is finally here. There is a palpable post-exams, pre-festival-season vibe in the Academy as the crowd eagerly await this hip, New York, London and California outfit. And there’s no better band to get a crowd into the mood than Grouplove.
Having a second crack at a Dublin headliner following the postponement of an earlier proposed show, they joyfully bounce on stage to a rapturous reception. Drummer Ryan Rabin (son of Trevor Rabin from legendary prog-rock gods Yes), is first to appear and packs a serious punch from the get-go. The two lead vocalists, pink haired Christian Zucconni and black lace leotard-clad Hannah Hooper, jogging on the spot, join him and we’re off. As Hooper playfully woos the crowd the pair make for infectious, smile inducing entertainment – already the gig is all about the feel good factor.
‘Lovely Cup’ captures this essence of what this band are about and the audience lap it up in equal measure. In saying that, it’s hard to pin down exactly who their influences are but we can suggest it lays somewhere between Blondie, The Beach Boys and Pixies. Visually, they are somewhat reminiscent of early ’90s grunge acts like Sonic Youth and Belly and while there are some elements of these bands, the sound is definitely and uniquely theirs. With the first half of their set relying on a summery, West Coast aural-aesthetic they soon turn way left of field with a slightly odd but hilarious version of Beyonce’s ‘Drunk in Love’ with accomplished rapping from Hooper, her seductive prowess in full throttle.
From the first familiar notes of ‘Tongue Tied’ – sending the crowd into fever pitch – the bouncing and fist pumping in unison with the genuine fun-time sentiment the band are sharing is utterly joyous. “Take me to your best friend’s house” – this band would be the ultimate house party guests, no question. They engage with the audience constantly and one fan, front and centre, catches the attention of Hooper as she locks eyes with her, causing much delight in process.
The energy levels dip slightly towards the end but Hooper reasserts her effervescence and rouses the crowd back to life. ‘Ways to Go’ gets things back on track and it’s business as usual until for whatever reason Rabbin takes to the front of the stage and chats to the crowd about bank holidays and that this weekend is US Memorial day weekend. Okay…slightly out of whack with what just went before but there is a sense of ‘expect the unexpected’ at this show so the crowd just stays with it. Deliriously upbeat with a punk residue, Grouplove pretty much have it all.