Gotye Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen 5.14.08

Mai 21st, 2008 by admin

After an improbable rise to superstardom in his adopted home of Australia over the past few years, Gotye finally made his UK debut last week in London. Monday things went down at the Metro, but as I was still dealing with the maelstrom of shit that was finals week, I had to postpone my gratification until his Hoxton Bar & Grill show Wednesday. Absolutely worth it though, as his Hoxton show was by all accounts the better gig, with a sold out crowd and amazing support in the form of the lovely Marina & The Diamonds and the afrocentric fingerpicking of Nick Mulvey. There were also some extremely hot jams dropped by Fresh Prints in between sets and after the show. I read somewhere they’re gonna be the next Justice or something.

Marina was up first for a brief, but brilliant twenty-minute set. She’s got one of the best and most unique voices I’ve heard in ages, and her powerful vocals easily won over those lucky enough to be there earlier enough for her set, tracks like “We’ve Got Obsessions” and “Simplify” standing out as some of her more awe-inspiring highlights.

MP3: “We’ve Got Obsessions” (Demo) – Marina & The Diamonds
MP3: “Simplify” – Marina & The Diamonds

Next came criminally unknown up-and-comer Nick Mulvey, who’s one of the more special talents I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live this semester. I first caught him at Cross Kings pub (the closest you can get to Brooklyn in North London) in February, but this was the first full-length set I’d heard him play. Given the nigh-on unfathomable hype surrounding Vampire Weekend and the current music climate, you could be forgiven for passing off any indie act rocking an afrobeat influence as mere bandwagon jumpers, but tagging Nick Mulvey as such would be doing the young London troubadour a significant injustice. For starters, he just finished a degree in ethnomusicology focusing on African music and has been making a name for himself as a percussionist in award-winning modern jazz four-piece Portico Quartet for a few years now. Then there’s the small fact that he’s fluent in Congolese… yeah. He’s also one of the more gifted guitarists I’ve ever seen in a live setting, so yeah, it’s safe to say Mulvey’s one to keep an eye on. All of Mulvey’s talents are on display on “I Didn’t Have Time”, which bounces along on sunny guitar melodies and his unique bilingual charm, and it was easily the highlight of his thirty-minute set last Wednesday.

MP3: “I Didn’t Have Time” – Nick Mulvey

Finally, it was time for Gotye to take the stage and fuck if he didn’t put on one of the more amazing shows I’ve taken in during my time here. Easily the most impressive one-man show I’ve ever seen, Gotye bounced back and forth between keys, a sampler and his drum kit, with captivating visuals (like this and this) projected behind him all the while. The drums were and always will be his first love, a point made obvious during his hour-plus performance, in which he frequently returned to the kit to pound out drum solo after awe-inspiring drum solo to take his songs to a whole new level of brilliant intensity. Singles “Heart’s A Mess” and “The Only Thing I Know” were incredible early highlights, but it was underrated album track “Thanks For Your Time”, which stole the show during the main portion of his set with its streaking strings samples and Wally’s piercing “Oh, oh!” backing vocals.

MP3: “Thanks For Your Time” – Gotye
MP3: “Hearts A Mess” – Gotye

For the encore, Nick Mulvey returned to join Wally on the stage for a collaboration the duo had spent the entire day working on in the garden behind the office. A Mulvey-enhanced acoustic version of “Puzzle With A Piece Missing” was a change of pace from the rest of the set and lacked the energy that made his main set so stimulating, but it was more than made up for by his collaboration with Mulvey on a brilliant cover of Paul Simon’s “Gumboots”, which also featured the talents of Gideon Brazil on saxophone. Rounding out the night, Mulvey left the stage as Gotye and Brazil launched into a truly awe-inspiring rendition of future summer smash “Learnalilgivinanlovin”, on which Wally just destroys the drums and unleashes his most impressive vocal performance to date, and it provided the perfect end to one of the best nights of music one could as for.

MP3: “Gumboots” – Nick Mulvey

Dude is a special talent, folks – remember the correct spelling because the rest of 2008 belongs to one man, and his name is Gotye.

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