Liverpool University

31st October 2008

Suitably for Halloween night, the soundtrack from The Wicker Man is playing as Goldfrapp emerge, dressed as druids, save of course for Alison Goldfrapp herself, decked out in her usual extravagance.

On arrival, she asks the crowd to desist in any flash photography as it’s ‘distracting’. Most punters take her advice, but the odd flashgun still goes off and two songs in, we only get a few bars into ‘A&E’ before, apparently angered by the continued flash, Ms Goldfrapp storms off the stage in a huff.

First of all the audience are surprised, then amused, then angered. Who does she think she is? This isn’t a trendy London venue, this is Liverpool. The students’ union should have something in the corridor from the dressing room a la ‘This is Anfield’, to remind visiting artistes that in this town, anyone who dares rise themselves above the mulch and parade on stage must be prepared not to be a massive fucking diva and take whatever the audience throws at them.

As might be expected there’s a lot of dissent in the ranks, and bitter murmuring as people contemplate that a show they have just paid £22.50 plus booking fee to see might be over after less than two songs. A few minutes later though, one of the band emerges and announces that they’re going to come back on, but will leave again if there’s anymore flashing. As Alison et al return to the stage, the majority of sound coming from the audience isn’t relived cheering, but dissatisfied murmurs and booing. Goldfrapp have got to do a lot of work to win this crowd back.

Once they get back into the music though, things quickly start to look up and the murmurs die down as ‘U Never Know’ kicks in. We quickly fall for Goldfapp’s unique style, disco with depth, glam with a dark underbelly, and their great knack for shifting quickly from throbbing beats that make you grind to the most heart wrenching, delicate and multi-layered songs like ‘Little Bird’.

Of course, it’s Alison that is the visual focus, somewhere between disco diva and mad woman in the attic, dressed in flowing pink while the rest of her band stand around in white. It’s easy to see that this is a woman who NEEDS to be noticed, a crystal animal perched precariously on the edge of the shelf.

It ends on a loud one, ‘Train’. We tease and encore and, as the whole shebang ends of a thundering ‘Sex Machine’, the earlier incident is forgiven. Maybe you can be a diva in this town, but you’ve gotta have the glitterballs.

By Kenn Taylor