GIG REVIEW: Goldfrapp performs Felt Mountain live at Royal Festival Hall

By Neil Durham

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHEN?: Friday 15 April 2022

SETLIST: Felt Mountain; Paper Bag; Pilots; Deer Stop; Human; Hairy Trees; Road To Somewhere; Eat Yourself; Moon In Your Mouth; You Never Know; Black Cherry; Utopia; Lovely Head; Ride A White Horse; Strict Machine; Train; Oompa Radar

An hour into tonight’s show and singer Alison Goldfrapp announces from the stage that she wants to take a picture of the audience and instructs us to get to our feet.

  • Read on for reasons including how we hope new studio album number 8 is not far off

It’s the 1st time anyone has done so throughout proceedings as we’ve been almost bewitched, sitting in appreciative hushed reverance of a band focusing on the 2000 debut album Felt Mountain that announced them to the world.

Felt Mountain wasn’t appreciated by us at the time of its release when it went gold in the UK, reached only number 57 in the album charts and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

The album’s debut single was Lovely Head which is characterised by lonesome whistling, processed vocals and reimagines Shirley Bassey via Italian film director Sergio Leone.

It’s very cool and cinematic and an incredible highpoint while the album’s best tracks – Pilots, Human and Utopia – offer hints of what made us fall in love with them.

The song that brought the band to our attention was the aggressive disco of Strict Machine in 2003 which allows Goldfrapp’s vocal to soar at the same time as a throbbing electronica soundtrack that brings to mind the best of Donna Summer.

The early tracks in this set are not all from Felt Mountain and instead plunder almost all of the band’s 7 studio albums to find complementary songs which suit the laidback vibe.

We are struggling however to remain in our seat during You Never Know from the band’s imperious Supernature album which saw Goldfrapp at their most commercial in 2005/6 and thrillingly enjoying 4 top 20 hits.

We don’t sit down of course after being encouraged to our feet because, as if to prove that they can do so much more than soundtrack introspection both cinematically and beautifully, they wheel out the dancefloor bangers which are our favourites in their cannon.

Goldfrapp has never been the most chatty frontperson but does appear to be enjoying herself here behind 2 microphone stands as if to prove how seriously she takes the business of singing.

We’ve seen the band a few times over the years most notably at Glastonbury as the sun went down in 2014 and we last saw them on the eve of their most recent album release Silver Eye in Camden Roundhouse in March 2017.

We’re here because we’ve missed seeing them live and this tour was actually supposed to go ahead in 2020 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album but was Covid cancelled and has been much rearranged.

Goldfrapp has never been the most prolific band and we’ve never had to wait quite so long for a new studio album as the 5 long years since Silver Eye.

So we’ve everything crossed that there’s a new album on the horizon, perhaps stocked with some of those trademark dancefloor gems, that we can enjoy live at a venue or even better at an outdoor festival – and soon. A Good Friday indeed.

  • Pictures by Neil Durham courtesy Goldfrapp Tickets
  • Have you seen these shows or heard these songs? Let us know in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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