AlunaGeorge with support from MØ and Leon T. Pearl at O2 Academy Bristol 20/10/13
It’s been just under a year since I last saw AlunaGeorge live at a rather intimate and cosy log cabin themed gig at Bristol’s Start the Bus. It’s rare to be able to go back and see an act which has had the sort of over night success that has befallen AlunaGeorge, so tonight’s show was a chance to see if fame had changed the electro pop duo, or if they were just as grounded and amazing live as they were at Start the Bus on that cold November night.
Before I talk about AlunaGeorge’s performance though I need to make some space for tonight’s two support acts. First up was relative newcomer Leon T. Pearl, someone who thanks to this gig popped up on my news feed a few days ago which gave me time to listen to him before seeing him live. His live performance didn’t disappoint. Wearing a rather fetching fur hat (I suppose it was a chilly night) Leon spent about twenty minutes doing his best to warm up a less than capacity crowd. Which at first seemed like a thankless task, but was a task he overcame thanks to his sheer bravado and swagger which helped capture the crowd’s attention. Leon T. Pearl is certainly someone you’ll be hearing a lot about very soon, he’ll make sure of it. (plus we’ve got a post lined up about his latest track.)
The second support of the night came from MØ, who we last saw perform in the bowels of Thekla during this years Bristol Dot 2 Dot festival back in May. Yet again MØ gave us a high energy, truly engaging performance, punching and kicking her way through new tracks such at ‘XXX 88’ as well as a new track which had a definite Depeche Mode vibe about it.
The effects of touring have clearly taken its toll on the Danish songstress as she stopped to mistakenly ask the audience “How ya doing Brighton …” which received a few sniggers and blanks looks. But lets face it we wouldn’t know our Kjellerup from our Kalundborg. MØ concluded her set with one of her break through tracks ‘Glass’ which concluded with MØ diving into the crowd and a initiating a chant of “Aluna” “George”, which is something I’d like to see from more support acts. By the end of her energetic 30 minute set the crowd were fully warmed up and had totally forgiven her, for her earlier geographical mistake.
The build up to the headliners was a smokey affair with the stage lit in white light and continuously shrouded in smoke by an off stage smoke machine. Before the stage was plunged into darkness allowing AlunaGeorge to take their marks on stage. Kicking off by running through a number of tracks taken from their recent debut album such as ‘Best Be Believing’ and ‘You Know You Like It’. It was the reaction to the duo’s more well-known and dare I say it radio friendly tracks such as ‘Attracting Flies’, and ‘Yours Drums, Your Love’, which garnered the most cheers. Which is testament to the duo’s rise to dizzying heights of the mainstream music scene.
Back in Novemeber last year, the performance of the cover of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’ had the audience and myself included dancing along to the surprising rendition. But somehow this time round, possibly because the surprise has gone and the track was also featured on AlunaGeorge’s debut ‘Body Music’ it just failed to pack the same sort of punch. I’d have loved to have seen another covered worked up for this tour.
Quite possibly the most interesting track of the night came during the encore, much to the delight of the dare I say it ‘Radio 1 crowd’, was a performance of ‘White Noise’ the track which help AlunaGeorge break out into the mainstream consciousness. Although this version had much warmer melody and chilled vibe to it, which I can only attribute to George’s brilliant production, yep I just said it. George’s production trumps that of Disclosure’s. As I said it’s rare to be able to watch an artist rise up from demos posted on a blog to the heights of success that AlunaGeorge have managed to achieve in such a short space of time, which meant tonight was always going to leave me with mixed feelings. Feelings of loss for an act that’s passed out into the mainstream and feelings of excitement of seeing an artist i’ve followed for so long revelling in the success. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next in the AlunaGeorge story.