After the best part of two decades making records as one half of – and let’s be honest, the public face of Goldfrapp, Alison Goldfrapp has struck out under her own name. Tonight, on the penultimate date of her tour, she’s playing to a pretty packed Playhouse as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and here to put on one hell of a show.
Whilst it’s never helpful to pigeonhole an artist, Ms. Goldfrapp always did a pretty good job of working across several genres, and earning respect in of many of these fields. Before forming Goldfrapp with Will Gregory in the late 1990s, she had worked with the commercially and critically respected likes of Orbital, Dreadzone and Tricky. Initially Goldfrapp (the act) were seen as more cinematic, before moving in a direction that showed allegiance to both the dancefloor and the pop charts. Like the Human League and others before her, she’s an artist who understands pop and the dancefloor – the two not always being mutual inclusive. Tonight’s show is centred around her first solo album,The Love Invention, released this year and which went top 10, and no.1 in Scotland.
This is an album that definitely has its roots more on the dancefloor, and by the time the opening ‘Hotel (Suite 23)‘ has made way for ‘Love Invention‘ the whole crowd are on their feet. This is a seated venue (a lot of touring musicals make their way through here) but this doesn’t stop us. While it would work better in a club setting rather than a theatre, the excellence of the performance transcends this. She’s accompanied by a keyboardist introduced as Evelyn and a very energetic drummer. In addition to this there are three dancers, whose performace she tells us moved her to tears the first time she saw them. I’m not an expert on interpretative dance but it works very well as part of the performance. Not only that but the visuals behind the performers are absolutely fantastic.
The 90 minute show focuses on her solo album, but we are also treated to some excellent highlights from the Goldfrapp back catalogue, including ‘Number 1‘ (it really should have been, you know), ‘Ride A White Horse‘ and ‘Rocket.’ Not only that there’s also last year’s collaboration with Röyksopp –“lovely boys from Norway,” she tells us – and the rather fine ‘Impossible.’
If I’m not terribly convinced by the attempts to speak to the audience, which seem well-intentioned but somewhat out of place here, the three song encore of ‘In Electric Blue,’ ‘Strict Machine‘ and ‘Fever (This Is the Real Thing)‘ are a fantastic way to send us off into the night.
She makes promises to be back next year – and let’s hope she keeps them. Truly a mistress of whatever genre she choses to perform in.
Photo credit: Edinburgh Festival