Goldfrapp at the Olympia

It was a bitterly cold evening which greeted one of the world’s biggest electronic bands to Dublin on Friday November 26, but the Baltic temperatures proved an ironic backdrop to the blistering synths which were heating up the Olympia theatre.

But while the gig was undeniably bombastic, the whole set never really picked up any consistent momentum with only flashes of brilliance peppered around what was overall a somewhat faceless performance. Stand-outs on the night included the band’s most well-known hits including Train, Ooh La La, Number 1 and Strict Machine, if only for the extended versions on offer. Some of the productions sounded unbelievable at full blast. The thudding beats and soaring choruses of certain songs were nothing short of euphoric when played at maximum blast in a live setting.  

But other than that, there were several glaring omissions from the set list, including Rocket, the lead track from the band’s current album Head First, and pretty much the best of their last album Seventh Tree. Yes, while the folksy, atmospheric sound of Seventh Tree doesn’t exactly fit in sonically with the electronic sound of other albums, signature songs of the band including A&E, Happiness and Caravan Girl were ignored.

However, the two things that were completely on point were her outfits and the overall staging. Whether Alison Goldfrapp was using strips of old VHS tapes to cover a bodysuit or whether she was dressed as a cupcake, she was never anything but the focal point of the stage. And considering the stage backdrop consisted of something resembling a giant silver spaceship and a band adorning metallic jumpsuits, it was quite the coup.

The heavy backing tracks throughout were disappointment too. While it is very difficult to recreate an electronic sound live organically, there was a feeling for the most part that we were listening to the album versions of tracks at maximum blast without any real personality or emotion behind them.  

In comparison with their previous work, Head First, the album, definitely doesn’t bring the same sort of atmosphere and personality that their previous work holds. It was no coincidence that none of the real crowd pleasers of the night came from their new material. So while it was an enjoyable, in-your-face experience for the most, by the end one felt as though there was just a little bit of magic missing from a band that have set themselves very high standards, both musically and visually over the past decade.

Set list

Set List:

Crystalline Green
You Never Know
Head First
Number 1
Shiny & Warm
Ride a White Horse
Ooh La La
Black Cherry
Little Bird
Lovely Head
Strict Machine


Photo courtesy of Scanner-fm

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