Grouplove at House of Blues, 4/7/2014
Photos by Jim Bricker
Grouplove, MS MR House of Blues April 7, 2014
Damn the iPod. Really. It's truly ruined the way we ingest music. Long gone are the days of sitting down to a full album, taking in all of its little intricacies from front to back, allowing a band to tell their story on two full sides.
We may never have another White Album or Dark Side of the Moon, and can only hope to see another Quadrophenia or Thriller, but the chances of that seem slim. And because of that, bands have now changed their approach to how they release music.
Now we are force-fed a band three and a half minutes at a time, which can't possibly give us a full picture of what they can really do. It's almost a step back to the days of the 45, where people would fall in love with a band based solely on an A-side and (if the band is lucky) a B-side. Today, given music listeners' love of the shuffle, it's rare for anyone to know what a band truly sounds like.
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Grouplove is a prime example of this kind of band. They had the right song to fit into the right commercial at the right spot in time that hit the right demographic ("Tongue Tied"), immediately making a name for themselves based on a 30-second clip of one of their poppier tracks. While not the first to do it by any means, they definitely made the most of it.
And good for them. Not because they made a few bucks, but because they made a name for themselves because of it. Grouplove is an extremely talented band, and have given people who finally started digging something more to listen to than just a hit single. Now with two full albums out, both full of the same infectious indie-pop that people originally fell in love with through regular TV airplay, Grouplove has made it much easier to build their fan base once people got past that single.
Monday night's show proved they have much more to offer. But even if they didn't have another great song, their energy alone on the House of Blues stage was enough to write home about. I'm not sure how they have the energy to jump around so much throughout their hour and a half, but it made me tired just watching them. And I didn't even jump once.
But they do have great songs, and an even greater chemistry together while performing them. They had no problem working their way through some of their earlier tunes, like "Naked Kids," their ode to the wild, young and free days of their youth; "Tongue Tied," the aforementioned commercial hit; and the set-closing "Colours," which I'll assuredly be singing to myself for the next few days.
Still, it was their new material that really seemed to get the crowd worked up. I haven't had the opportunity to give their latest record, 2013's Spreading Rumors, much of a listen, but after Monday I have no doubt that it's a stellar effort. From the new album, the wispy "Raspberry," featuring a fine vocal effort by front woman Hannah Hooper, was a standout, as was the fun, danceable "Shark Attack" that saw Christian Zucconi taking the lead. Both Hooper and Zucconi did a fine job of sharing the spotlight, while the rest of the band (including birthday boy Andrew Wessen) had no problem in the supporting role.
While their time in the spotlight seems to be creeping towards its end, mainly because their "Tongue Tied" commercial doesn't air anymore, Grouplove has notched enough of a mark that they should continue to thrive based mainly on their time in the sun. And this show proved just that.The room was nearly sold out, so it seems as if they'll be around for some time to come. And the world of music is a much better place because of that.
Review continues on the next page.
So, Tell Me About the Opener: Before Grouplove hit the stage, up-and-coming dance-pop duo MS MR performed an inspired set of originals with a handful of wisely chosen covers thrown in for good measure. I didn't necessarily take to them at first, and kind of wrote them off as another generic indie group, but by the end of it they had me.
Their take on the Arctic Monkey's "Do I Wanna Know?" was a good one, and when they jumped into LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yrself Clean," I was a bit taken aback, but was soon jamming it pretty hard. Finishing the set with their breakout single, "Hurricane," they showed why they've been the talk of the interwebs as of late. I'm really looking forward to catching them the next time they come around.
Personal Bias: I like to have fun in the sun.
The Crowd Tons of younger folk. Which made me question what kind of parent lets their 16-year-old go to a concert unchaperoned on a school night? It's a school night, right? Last time I checked, Monday night was a school night. I don't know, though. I'm pretty far removed from the world of schooling that it might have changed. I highly doubt it, but maybe I guess.
Overheard In the Crowd: Some older, silver-haired guy, who I'm hoping was one of the few chaperones in the building, yelled "Wooooooooooo" loudly in my ear, then looked at me awkwardly and said "That was me!" Dude, no shit. Also, thanks for the momentary deafness.
Random Notebook Dump: Grouplove is doing this thing where they record the entire show, then ask their fans to vote for what song they liked the best during the night on their Web site. Whichever tune gets the most votes, which will probably be "Tongue Tied" because it's more of a popularity contest than what was actually the best, they'll release as a free download to everyone tomorrow. Pretty cool idea, and a nice token of appreciation for the throngs of fans throwing down $40 for a ticket.
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