Saturday, October 13, 2012
Gotye fan causes ruckus during avant-pop show in Grand Prairie
When the band finally played “Somebody That I Used to Know," it was almost as catchy live as it was the first 5 billion times you’ve heard it on the radio.
The opening acts had started three hours earlier and the Australian singer was a full hour into his headlining set. But still, there was no sign of The Hit.
Halfway through the quiet tune “Bronte,” an impatient audience member started yelling and causing a ruckus near the stage, prompting Goyte to stop the music and admonish the ignoramus. “Should we start over?” Goyte sternly asked the audience of 2,000 or so. “Or just move on?”
He restarted “Bronte,” and when it was done, he finally unveiled the ear worm everyone had come to hear, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” It’s a chilling he-said/she-said break-up song – angry and intense, with a deceptively sweet xylophone riff as its main hook. With opening act Kimbra adding her bittersweet vocals Friday, it was almost as catchy live as it was the first 5 billion times you’ve heard it on the radio.
But the moment was half-ruined by the ugly crowd incident before it. Which brings up the question: How long should a performer make audiences wait to hear The Hit?
In 1994, after “Mr. Jones” turned Counting Crows into overnight stars, the band actually began its shows with the song, as if to say “If you came only for the hit, please leave now.” That’s a bit risky – what if half the crowd leaves? – but it might have worked well for Goyte (real name: Wally De Backer), whose show was sufficiently intriguing even before a certain “Somebody” showed up.
A restless mix-master, Goyte led his band across a rich terrain of electronic music with a heavy accent on polyrhythms. When he wasn’t singing, Goyte attacked the drum kit like Keith Moon while leading frantic three-man percussion jams.
At times, the music got too busy, with an excess of samples and drums and not enough focus. The constant folk-art animation that ran on a screen above the stage only added to the sensory overload, although at least it gave you something to look at: Goyte was a reluctant showman who seemed most comfortable behind the drum kit or singing from a back corner of the stage.
But when the show did click, it recalled the experimental pop of Art of Noise and early Peter Gabriel, with Goyte’s sweet, soaring tenor providing a perfect contrast to the music’s more avant-garde textures. And if he scores a few more hit, who knows? Maybe fans will start coming to find out what new avant-pop tricks he has up his sleeve, instead of just coming to hear The Hit.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas freelance writer. Email email@example.com.
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