- 05 Jul 01
Gorillaz have more onstage presence tonight than any virtual or non-virtual band on the block
You stop noticing there’s no-one actually on stage about four songs in. Our eyes are too deliriously busy, full-up with plastic-perfect acid-coloured hypervisions – giant robots coasting down abandoned post-urban highways, cartoon thugs bearing massive cryptic block-letter manifestos, and a tiny, gleefully aerodynamic creature named Noodle… but never mind that. Visuals or no, Gorillaz have more onstage presence tonight – thumping and radiating through the lightning-flash of the scrim like the best party-in-the-flat-next-door you’ve ever heard - than any virtual or non-virtual band on the block.
Anyone who thought this was some hare-brained, too-clever art school concept from a bored white-boy frontman – ‘Damon’s folly’? – gets that idea knocked out of them pretty sharpish. Every song’s a winner: everything from spooky-cool dub reggae to salsa (pre-recorded ghost-voice: Ibrahim Ferrer) to the trippiest, giddiest of trip-hop, gets spring-rolled, via Damon’s irrepressible gift for pop melody, into a neat amalgam of cute’n’dinky Japanophilia, planet-shattering noise and multicultural London flash: Hello Kitty moves to post- apocalypse Brixton and gets led kaleidoscopically astray by the best hip-hop-punk-pop-weird band ever. And when we do get occasional glimpses of the Gorillaz themselves, silhouetted through the screen, going excitedly mental amongst themselves (bouncing around the stage, waving melodicas… bless) we can’t help but go, to coin a phrase, apeshit, in response.