Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Oct 4th 2010 4:15PM by Jonathan Dekel
Providing all the shock and awe of a modern day pop spectacle -- a sketched out plot; audience-pleasing guest spots; a backing band that includes both punk rock royalty and an orchestra -- the performance finally paid dividends to the musical creativity and cross-cultural interplay that Albarn has envisioned for the Gorillaz project since its inception.
Arriving onstage in sailor outfits befitting the theme of the band's most recent release, 'Plastic Beach,' Albarn and the rest of the group's seven-strong current incarnation -- including former Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon -- wasted no time in establishing their live presence.
Though necessity forced some interaction with pre-recorded guest spots from Shaun Ryder and Snoop Dog (who accompanied the group on album opener and show plot-setter, 'Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach'), Gorillaz managed to secure an impressive array of live guest stars, including soul legend Bobby Womack, Little Dragon, De La Soul and grime rapper Bashy, whose performance alongside a series of Arab-American musicians on 'White Flag' and 'Clint Eastwood' provided a surprising highlight.
All paled in comparison to the circus' ringleader, however. Though he claimed he's "not really a professional frontman," Albarn was mesmerizing. Whether he was screaming at the audience, skanking along with Bashy, locking heads with De La Soul or simply plunking away at the piano, his impenetrable pride radiated, infected and drove the performance. What's more, he seemed genuinely happy onstage, playing alongside his musical heroes -- as excited, if not more, than the jazzed-up audience that spent the entire night on their feet cheering him on.
If Albarn was aiming to pervert public perception on the last tour -- standing behind a curtain, his shadow and voice the only indication that the man was indeed even there -- on Sunday he basked in it; ending the show at the front of the stage, literally and metaphorically in the heavenly glow of the spotlight.
What a difference a decade makes.