Alison Goldfrapp and her band have a chameleonic nature; one minute they’re being minimal and almost ambient, the next they’re belting out attention-grabbing glam rock and now they’re capturing hearts with bittersweet, modern folk. Alison has even tried her hand at trip-hop, as a guest on Bristol artist Tricky’s first album, Maxinquaye. This unpredictable nature was well and truly shown at the Sage last night.
The stage was adorned with stuffed animals and antlers while fairy lights and flags draped from the ceiling. The band was all dressed in white but Alison Goldfrapp walked on in a shocking pink, short smock that made her stand out from her backing group.
The set borrowed heavily from their latest album, Seventh Tree, but they still found time to fit in songs from all of their previous three albums, starting with the minimal “Paper Bag” from Felt Mountain. It took a while for the group to break out into the glam songs that made them famous but the crowd went wild for “Number 1” and “Ooh La La”, both from the storming, chic Supernature. During “Little Bird”, psychedelic 60s animations and images were projected onto the wicker background.
It wasn’t until she breaks out tracks from Black Cherry, though, that the crowd really get into their stride and start to become more animated. “Train” turns out to be ten times more powerful live than it is on record, with the drums pounding through the hall and bouncing off the walls, and the bass sends reverberations flying through people.
Despite “Train” looking to be the song of the night, it was undoubtedly “Strict Machine” that stole the show. With hyperactive, flashing lights blinding the audience, Alison Goldfrapp belts out her signature tune wonderfully and despite generally not being a very animated character, she danced her way through with flair.
Last night, Goldfrapp went through their various guises with elegance and chic style, proving that sometimes being shape shifters can be a incredibly good thing.