Gotye live @ 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 29 February
SURROUNDED by cymbals, keyboards, synthesisers, and a drum set, Woulter “Wally” De Backer, aka Gotye, seems like every other 31-year-old, aesthetically at least. But in a v-neck t-shirt the softly spoken Belgium-born, Australian-come musician, is a man at the top of his game.
“Smoke and Mirrors” was promptly followed by the bizarrely brilliant “State of the Art”, Gotye at his experimental best admitting it’s laced with loads of “silly noises.” “Thanks For Your Time” was next, another excellent example of this man’s ability to push the boundaries of alternative electro-pop beats, a collision of pulsating bass with Wally’s stunning vocals.
The projection in the background reveals a rolling mix of anime, cartoons, splashing paint and strange sequences. It all adds to the absurd beauty of the performance. One of the few times he converses with the crowd, he tells the irritatingly noisy bunch to shut-up, as it is proving “distracting.”
“Somebody That I Used To Know” was next, the ground-breaking single with New Zealand’s Kimbra, a track that has taken the UK and the US by storm. It has been number one, and has flirted with the number one iTunes track in the UK for the past month and stole the Triple J’s Hottest 100 top spot in January.
For better or worse, the song has launched Gotye into the commercial psyche, needless to say it’s a very, very catchy track. He says immediately after the song “there you go, I’ve played it now” seemingly intimating he’s pissed it’s become so big. He follows up with “Save Me”, a gorgeous track that showcases just how well this guy can sing. His lacklustre attempt to entice the crowd to sing along ultimately fails, before decrying at the end of the song that “it really shits me when nice rooms sound shithouse.”
“Hearts A Mess” featured, only the second song played from the far more impressive debut record Like Drawing Blood. And almost as though he hadn’t already proved rather negative about the whole thing, he says that this “will be the last time we play here for a long time,” to the howls of protest from the crowd. He qualifies it by telling them to “listen to the record; they’re magical, they happen again and again.”
It merely adds to the feeling that Gotye prefers to make records in a studio than take his captivating beats on stage. Which is to the detriment of his ever growing legion of fans.