Innovative virtual band Gorillaz played an intimate gig at the Alban Arena in St Albans last night ahead of their ‘Humanz’ tour. The band, led by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, played an eclectic mix of songs, drawn from a number of their albums.
The night began as their latest album, ‘Humanz’ does, with ‘Ascension’, followed by older track ‘Last Living Souls’. The Arena, which has a small capacity of 1,200, was sold out and Albarn often talked to the crowd. As the live band played, the virtual members of Gorillaz appeared on the giant screen behind them; vocalist 2D, guitarist Noodle, bassist Murdoc and drummer Russel.
The newer songs had an impressive light show, but it was Gorillaz’ older tracks, drawn mostly from albums ‘Plastic Beach’ and ‘Demon Days’, that elicted the biggest reaction from the crowd. ‘Stylo’ was particularly brilliant – the music video of a police car chase the background to amazing vocals from Peven Everett while Albarn made reference to the original singer, the late soul legend Bobby Womack.
Lots of tracks were being played live for the first time since 2010, such as ‘El Manana’ and ‘Dirty Harry’, which featured a slightly creep choir of virtual children singing on the screen. Lots of songs featured clips of the stars found on the latest album, such as former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, who featured on the last song before the encore, ‘We Got The Power’.
After this Albarn and co. went of stage, only to return with four songs from earlier eras. Fan favourites ‘Feel Good Inc.’ and ‘Clint Eastwood’ had the crowd singing along, which was followed by an epic mix of ‘Don’t Get Lost In Heaven’ and ‘Demon Days’.
Gorillaz have built a reputation as an exciting and interesting band, and last night certainly proved this; the unique virtual aspect of the band is backed up well by the live band. The set was intimate and extensive, lasting around two hours. With headline gigs on both sides of the Atlantic as well as their own one day festival, Demon Dayz, Gorillaz are certain to continue their brilliant performances.