Never Trust A Happy Song - GROUPLOVE
Spreading Rumours - GROUPLOVE
Big Mess - GROUPLOVE
Hello Coco fans! For all the neurotic planning that goes into my adventures, things don’t always work out the way I want. I missed out on the last few shows I had talked about but no worries, I finally made it to one and it was certainly worth the wait!
November 1st, I finally had the opportunity to officially photograph and review GROUPLOVE at The Fillmore in Philadelphia. They are currently on tour in support of their third album, Big Mess, which just released September 9, 2016. This indie-alt-rock band has come a long way since I first saw them perform at the very first Firefly back in 2012. Everyone there walked away saying “those guys were awesome, they will definitely be ones to watch” and so I have! I went home, promptly purchased their debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song, and became a GROUPLOVE addict. I have been trying to review a show ever since and this time, it finally all came together!
After a day of walking around the city of brotherly love, I finally arrived at The Fillmore just in time to catch the last few songs of the opening band, Dilly Dally. They are a Canadian indie, alt, rock band that had a look and sound reminiscent of mid ‘90s experimental post-punk bands such as Sonic Youth and The Pixies. Their music was much heavier than I expected but in a good, raw, punk rock way.
MUNA was up next, and they were great! I still don’t know too much about them except that they are from LA, they have a few songs available on Spotify and they play lovely, synthy, dark pop music. They sound a lot like CHVRCHES but definitely have a darker heavier sound. I liked them a lot and will be on the lookout for their debut album, About U, which is set to release February 3, 2017.
GROUPLOVE fans seemed to come out of nowhere and had the room packed long before the band finally hit the stage. They opened with “I’m With You,” which I thought was a brilliant way to get the crowd’s attention as we all settled in for the night. The song has a melodically long intro, which continues to build into fun, chant-along lyrics and then ends with ramped-up vocals, screaming guitars and an incredible light show. What a way to kick things off!
Lead singers Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi, were adorable with matching fluorescent hair colors, one greenish blue, the other a reddish orange! They have a style truly their own and I for one loved their looks for the night! Zucconi had on his favorite dress, which he is also pictured wearing in the cover jacket for Big Mess, a beanie cap, ripped jeans and classic black converse! Hooper had a bright red bomber jacket that matched her hair perfectly. By the second song, “Good Mourning,” she ditched the jacket to reveal a black, lacey leotard and she was looking fierce!
There was an overwhelming response to their #1 hit, “Tongue Tied,” which did reach #1 on the alt rock charts and #3 on the US rock chart. The song has been certified platinum and the crowd sang it out so loudly that the band was clearly touched by the out pour of love for this song. In the midst of such hard times for our country, it is really nice to hear such inspiring music. Almost every song on the new album has a pretty clear message of hope and love and it was nice to see them humbled by their fans response! They are a band born out of love, after all.
Their story goes a little like this: girl meets boy and invites him on a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime adventure that eventually leads to the forming of an awesome inde rock band; and they have been touring, writing music and falling more and more in love ever since! They even recently celebrated their daughter Willow’s first birthday, who is also already on her first world tour! (with them of course).
Part of their adventure included meeting drummer Ryan Rabin, who also self-produced the first official self-titled EP, which appeared on January 25, 2011. Rabbin was no stranger to the music business being the son of famous, talented musician Trevor Rabin, who is the former guitarist of ‘80s rock band Yes. After leaving Yes, Rabin (Trevor) became a film composer and has scored more than 40 feature films, winning numerous awards.
So, I can see where Rabin (Ryan) gets it! Producing amazing sounds is just in his blood and he has some interesting fashion choices of his own as well. He has become known for performing in either full bodied pajama suits or long johns with no shoes and crazy socks. He seems to have a large collection of said crazy socks, for I have never seen him wear the same pair twice. For this evening’s performance he came out wearing a T-Shirt w/ long johns pants and crazy socks, of course. Not sure when the shirt came off but bravo! He also showed off his black-light-friendly, light-up drum set during an amazing drum solo. Rabin and guitarist Andrew Wessen both grew up in LA and seem to have a pretty tight rapport. Rabin ended his drum solo and went straight into introducing Wessen to take the lead vocals on “Cannonball,’ and, of course, they both did an amazing job! I knew Wessen has recorded more vocals but this was the first time I had seen him take the lead at a show and I was super excited about it!
Original bassist Sean Gadd, a songwriter and guitarist from London, recorded the first two albums with them; however, in 2013, he left the band and was replaced by Daniel Gleason. Gleason began touring with them right away and seems to be the perfect fit. He has also now recorded with them for latest album Big Mess.
Anyway, that’s the abridged version as I see it but now back to the show. They did three of my favorite songs from Spreading Rumours right in a row, “Shark Attack,” “Hippy Hill” and “Borderlines and Aliens”. They also threw in an excellent cover of Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage,” which seems to have become a favorite cover for many bands; however, this version included Hooper rapping which I thought was fantastic and exactly on point!
They pretended to end the show abruptly with their newest hit single, “Welcome To Your Life,” which has been climbing the alt rock charts. They quickly exited the stage at the end of the song but nobody moved. The crowd was frozen and all began chanting “Grouplove and 1 more song.”
After a very brief intermission, Zucconi came meandering back out with an acoustic guitar. He proceeded to play an amazing solo, acoustic version of “Enlighten Me,” a very quiet and heartfelt performance that felt very intimate as he encouraged the crowd to sing along. As the song came near its end, I could feel the intensity in his performance building and noticed the rest of the band getting back into position, and to my delight, they blasted into the full version for the end of the performance and what turned out to be just the beginning of an incredibly long four-and-a-half song encore!
They continued with “Beans on Pizza,” which was a bonus track on the deluxe version of Spreading Rumours. By half a song, I was referring to a little diddy they performed for the ending credits theme song to the Netflix original adult animated series, BoJack Horseman. The song is titled “Back in the 90s (BoJack’s Theme)” and is about 40 seconds long; however, they seemed to have gained a side following of fans just because of this series and they even had the Horseman heads to wear while performing!
“Ways to Go” and “Colours” officially ended the show, but I wanted more and so I went in search of the bus to see if I could get a chance to say hi! I waited for about and hour but mission accomplished and they were all so very nice!
I urge everyone to check out GROUPLOVE and go see them live. They are amazing to watch, and please remember to always let love guide your way, you never know what adventure may lie ahead for you!
Oh yeah, and by the way, Radio 104.5 was there to host the event and they have just announced that GROUPLOVE
is the headlining act for this year’s Winter Jam, Sunday, January 15th. This year’s line-up also includes River Run North, LP, Judah & the Lion, Capital Cities and Phantogram. For more info please visit: http://www.radio1045.iheart.com
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