GOTYE — LIVE REVIEW
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Photos by Nicolas Bates
Written by Dan Sinclair
It’s surprisingly humid for a September evening in Southern California, but there is a nice breeze here outside at the Greek Theatre. I’m surprised to see so many empty seats here for Gotye at 8:46 PM, but then I remember that this is Los Angeles and people are always “casually late.” Yes, even for a big-name artist at one of the most beautiful music venues in the country. Though the crowd is mostly made up of thousands of attractive females, there are plenty of dudes here too and I am treated to a conversation by a couple of said dudes behind me about a mutual friend (Steve) who currently has a “non-Hispanic, white girl fuck buddy with a butterface.” Oh, and they also talked about fantasy baseball. Luckily the lights go down soon thereafter and their banter is drowned by the crowd’s cheers.
The band takes the stage, but Gotye is not front and center; instead, he dons a salmon shirt with tie at the back left corner. The drummer plays a steady beat next to him on his gigantic drum set, while the bassist and guitar player stand side by side in front of him. To their right is another dude who has a bunch of keyboards and percussion instruments surrounding him. Gotye plays a small keyboard and bangs some sort of percussion over his head while he sings the night’s first song, “The Only Way,” and lava lamp-type images play over the large screen behind him.
Gotye moves to the front of the stage to sing “What Do You Want” off his very first album, Boardface. He rushes back to a mini-drum set to bang it out next to the other drummer and the crowd loves every second of it. There’s a lot of mariachi-sounding guitar and a really funky bass line.
“Easy Way Out” rocks more than the first two songs with a really cool guitar riff and a powerful chorus of “Wearing me out/All of this hanging around/It just starts getting me down/’Til I’m just looking for an easy way out.” This kicks right into the funky and fun “Eyes Wide Open” and is followed by the multi-percussioned “Smoke and Mirrors” that features Gotye’s widest vocal range of the night, hitting some really high notes.
“State of the Art” makes use of some vocals that can only be described as “robot voices.” Next is what I consider Gotye’s worst choice of the night in the annoyingly repetitive “Thanks for Your Time.” But, don’t worry, he recovers nicely with the 80s-esque, ultra-funky, reverb-packed “Dig Your Own Hole.”
A fan shouts out “One more song!” Gotye is puzzled and jokes, “Just one more? I just can’t take anymore!” But the crowd does want more and he delivers by manning the giant drum set to rock out on a solo for “The Only Thing I Know”—one of the best songs of the night.
“Night Drive” goes by with little to no fanfare before the crowd helps sing the “Ay, Ay, Ah/Ay, Ay, Oh” part for the catchy song “Save Me.” Gotye then slows it down with the ultra-mellow, cool-ass songs “Giving Me a Chance” and “Bronte.”
Gotye tells the crowd he’ll need some help on the next song and everyone should know what’s coming, but they don’t. Only a few scattered claps. But, when he plays the beginning to “Somebody I Used to Know,” the thousands at the Greek go nuts and scream and dance. Since New Zealand’s Kimba was not in Los Angeles to sing her part, Gotye made it very clear that it was up to all those in attendance to step in for her. What happened next was one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed/heard at a concert in my life. Without missing a beat, every woman in attendance came right in on cue to sing, “Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over…” Not only was the timing dead on, it was loud, in perfect unison and completely in tune. Simply amazing. Even Gotye was impressed, nodding proudly and smiling big as he joined back in to sing the chorus.
Though many left in droves when the hit single was over, those who stuck around were treated to one last song: the cool, funky, mellow “Heart’s a Mess.”
Say what you will about Wouter “Wally” De Backer aka Gotye, but the man is a talented musician and certainly knows how to put on a show. And even though it was very clear that most of the audience was unfamiliar with most of the songs performed outside the hit single, everyone was entertained the whole night through.
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