with The Head & The Heart

When reviewing Grouplove's debut EP in early 2011 I predicted that they were set for big things that year. However more than a few times I've said this and the band goes nowhere, so it's been nice to see Grouplove explode in popularity, particularly in Australia.


The band played a few sideshows while in Australia for the second time for the Falls Festival and Southbound. The Corner Hotel in Richmond was the venue for their Melbourne show on the 4th of January. The band are touring their debut album that came out in Australia very quickly after their EP. New tracks that weren't on the EP, particularly ‘Itchin' on a Photograph' and ‘Tongue Tied' have featured heavily on Triple J and brought them a wider audience.


The Corner Hotel was full of anticipation from the moment I entered. Clearly everyone was extremely excited, as was I despite seeing them at Falls Marion Bay on New Year's Eve only a few days earlier. Nearly everyone arrived early enough to see the second support, fellow American indie rockers The Head and The Heart. I had bought their album a while back and was excited to see how they would play live. In short they were absolutely amazing. Everyone around me seemed to be blown away. It seemed like most people, like the friends I was with had not heard of them, but said several times during the set how amazing the sound was. My friends since told me they bought the album the next day.


Many punters would not have been expecting Grouplove to have such expectations to live up to when they came onstage, yet due to the immense quality of ‘The Head and The Heart' they did. The band received a rapturous reception when walking onstage before quickly launching into ‘Don't Say Oh Well'. An interesting choice to start with a song that is not on the album, instead it features on their self-titled EP. Surprisingly most people were still singing along. That sing-along was nothing compared to the overwhelming shared chorus of ‘Lovely Cup'. The crowd somehow took it up another notch for their most well known hit, ‘Itchin' on a Photograph'.


The mood was subdued a little with the beautiful and "jangly" ‘Love Will Save Your Soul'. It needed to be as well because the rate of sing-alongs, excitement and general noise surely couldn't be sustained for too much longer. The highlight of the set (obligatory encore excluded) was the summer anthem ‘Naked Kids' which again prompted the audience to join in and nearly drowned out singers Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper. There wasn't a dull moment to be had as the band kept the crowd in raptures as they reeled off songs from their album before finishing with ‘Slow'.


As the band hadn't played one of their best known songs ‘Colours', an encore was always going to happen, even if they had played it, the crowd would've been far too loud for the band to ignore. They of course came back onstage and treated The Corner Hotel to two killer tracks, the ever so catchy ‘Tongue Tied' before finishing with an energetic performance of ‘Colours'.


In addition to being the best gig I've ever seen at the venue, it was easily the best gig I've seen from a band that only have one album and one of my favourite of all time. The band themselves were also full of admirable modesty, continually thanking their adoring fans and telling them what an amazing crowd they were. Due to their humble nature, you had a feeling they meant it too. After the concert several members came into the bar and spoke to fans and took pictures and seemed overwhelmed when several people informed them that it was the best crowd they had seen at the famous venue.


All in all one of the best gigs I've ever seen from the most exciting band in music today. Couple that with a stunning performance by ‘The Head and The Heart', it made for a magical night of music.

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