The cartoon troupe Gorillaz has proven their pioneering role in pop music with their lavish live event.
Live goosebumps under lockdown conditions: The British musician Damon Albarn (52) dared an elaborate event as the front man of the globally successful cartoon troupe Gorillaz – and once again his pioneering role in current pop music with a live stream appearance in the London Kong studio demonstrated.
Of course, what the Gorillaz had announced for Sunday evening couldn’t offer the experience of a real concert. Especially not if you have actually experienced this originally purely virtual comic strip band, which was founded over 20 years ago, on a stage.
The 75-minute streaming gig, lined with colorful animated fireworks, showed at least what this live replacement, born of the Corona emergency, can make technically and emotionally possible. It is thanks to around 120 participants that a good dozen live musicians and numerous guest stars were able to present a Gorillaz performance, said Albarn, who has had further great successes with the bands Blur and The Good, The Bad & The since the early 1990s Queen celebrated.
Elton John as an animated film character
Otherwise, the singer and multi-instrumentalist didn’t make long announcements, but let the dynamic pictures by comic artist Jamie Hewlett (“Tank Girl”) and the danceable live sounds speak for themselves. The cartoon characters 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel (i.e. the actual Gorillaz) appeared with weird jokes in animations – in front of, next to or behind live musicians like Robert Smith (The Cure), Beck, Peter Hook (New Order), Matt Berry, Slowthai, Leee John and Schoolboy Q.
Pop legend Elton John and the Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara appeared as cartoon characters or avatars. Especially pieces from the new Gorillaz album “Song Machine Season One: Strange Timez” (2020) were played. This work, which oscillates between soul ballads, electro, hip-hop, reggae, gospel and indie rock, is considered one of the best records of the year.
Albarn was enthusiastic about the spontaneous “spirit” of his multicultural project in an interview with the German press agency in autumn. “You start with something and don’t know how it will end.” Music that arises “like a puzzle without a template” is much more interesting for him than specific directions. The rousing livestream concert of the Gorillaz now also had this workshop character.
(SDA / chk)