Gorillaz: Song Machine Live
Following the release of Song Machine Season One – and its catalogue of accompanying visuals which should not be overlooked – Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlitt and their extensive team of sound and film engineers have directed their creative energies toward another professional challenge induced by these unprecedented times.
Blending a strong live show with projected video footage, animations and special guest performances – both in person and, of course, in hologram form – Song Machine Live raises the bar of the once humble yet now crucial livestream genre. The efforts of Albarn and his band – with Seye Adelekan on bass and Jeff Wootton on guitar complementing the front man’s energy – pay off to create a live music experience composed of seamless transitions. The lack of an audience is rendered fairly irrelevant by how much fun they’re all having – and how utterly at home they seem. The spectacular immersion is complemented by a thoughtfully constructed set; every image, prop and detail contributes and alludes to the group’s 20 years of world-building, while also delivering a punchline. Gorillaz have displayed once again that meeting chaos with more fiery disarray can be a more rewarding option for the creative mind than trying to keep things flimsily under control.
The guest list deserves its own article, but highlights include Peter Hook’s gorgeous contribution to Aries, followed by Leee John stealing the show with his vocals on The Lost Chords, and then returning it gracefully. These features are topped off by an immeasurably significant cameo from Matt Berry, breathing new, unsettling life into the narrative interludes of Fire Coming out of the Monkey’s Head from 2005’s classic Demon Days record. It’s worth making the most of the digital tools at hand to replay Sweetie Irie’s appearance on Clint Eastwood – the group’s debut single, and the closing number of this performance – three or four times to give one time to take it all in. In short – while it’s not the same as seeing the band live, it’s also not trying to be. As fans new and old have come to expect from Gorillaz, they’re doing their own thing to a characteristically high standard, and it’s always nice to be invited to listen in.
For further information and future events visit Gorillaz’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Song Machine Live here: