Goldfrapp - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Fri 4 Apr 2014
The grown up popstar performs an astonishingly varied set with a constant mixing and balancing of moods
Alison Goldfrapp has some very, very loyal fans. As Britten’s Peter and the Wolf fades out, she trips on stage to excitable screams and cries of ‘we love you Alison’ that emanate somewhat unexpectedly from a crowd that is more than just greying round the edges. As befits such a grown-up pop star (her spooky debut, Felt Mountain, was released in 2000 when she was in her mid-30s), everything about Goldfrapp’s show feels well put-together – from her outfit, to the songs, to the trajectory of the show itself – it’s all simple but dramatic.
Material from last year’s Tales of Us abounds in the first half of the set, which begins with the creepy fairytale menace of album opener ‘Jo’, enhanced by the low lighting and dimly visible backdrop hinting at the deep, dark woods. A consummate weaver of atmospheres, Goldfrapp sustains her audience through an astonishingly varied set with a constant mixing and balancing of moods, of warm and cold, dark and light, desperate and proud. Possessed of a uniquely malleable voice that spans several octaves comfortably, she is poised somewhere between sultry, smoky Weimar-era cabaret singer and somewhat more squeaky alt-pop kook.
After a quick 45 minutes of the magical and the mystical, Goldfrapp gets everyone on their feet for the first of the big pop hits – ‘Number One’. It actually feels a bit run-of-the-mill after what we’ve just seen, its sentiments a bit trite and chorus repetitive, but things soon get back on track with ‘Ride a White Horse’, which expertly mixes those poppy hooks and thumping bass lines with that element of the fantastical. Her band are remarkably adaptable, going from passionate, violin-led crescendos to mesmeric electro beats without the bat of an eyelid. The final two songs of the encore, while alike in their sensuality, showcase the two extremes of Goldfrapp’s sound at their very best: Felt Mountain’s otherworldly, lazy ‘Lovely Head’ (‘it’s about an ex … they usually are,’ she deadpans before nevertheless launching into a sublime rendering of its longing desire) and stomping, sexy closer, ‘Strict Machine’.