Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s cartoon band Gorillaz is becoming less virtual all the time. I saw them play last night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on the Plastic Beach Tour, and there were plenty of live, warm bodies on stage.
It was an exceedingly fun show. “Fun” seems to be the main goal of mad pop genius Albarn, anyway. The band – with brass, strings, backup singers, and a rotating cast of rappers – all moved to his direction. Gorillaz have, over three albums now, always been a style stew. This translates really well live, as it keeps moving all over the place. Whatever happens this song, something very different will happen next. De La Soul, Bobby Womack, Little Dragon, and even the Syrian National Orchestra got in on the act.
What keeps it all together is the groove. And, of course, the non-stop video show going on behind the band, wherein the cartoon members play their important parts.
I could have done without “Superfast Jellyfish”, but the rest of the songs were great. “Stylo”, “D.A.R.E.”, and “Clint Eastwood” were really cool, but “Dirty Harry” ruled for its video of singalong kids.