It was the band’s first tour in seven years. As expected, the show sold out, leaving many fans and families standing outside the venue looking for spare tickets. The most interesting thing about the audience is that it was a good mixture of Black, White, and Asian fans. The audience was as diverse as some of the music of Gorillaz.
Vince Staples (one third of the hip hop Cutthroat Boyz) started the show with ‘Birds & Bees’ in a dark, deep red smoke. It would make sense that Gorillaz personally asked Staples (and other opener Danny Brown) to open for them, as Staples (among many others) collaborated with Gorillaz on their new Humanz album.
Currently signed to ARTium Recordings, Blacksmith Records, and Def Jam Recordings, Staples’ sophomore album Big Fish Theory debut at number 16 on the US Billboard 200 on the strength of his singles ‘Rain Come Down’ and ‘Big Fish’.
Staples spent the majority of his set in near darkness with a red backdrop, with the exceptions of ‘745’, which had a custom video of a car driving down a desert freeway, and ‘Big Fish’ with a video of a gold fish.
Detroit’s Danny Brown had a lot of buzz from the crowd coming on stage. Even if the audience were only casual Brown fans, they knew enough to sing along to ’25 Bucks’ and ‘Smokin & Drinkin’, both taken from his critically acclaimed album Old.
‘When It Rain’ and ‘Pneumonia’ was played near the end of his set, which was taken from Brown’s most recent album Atrocity Exhibition (Warp Records).
If you’re in the Detroit area, Brown and DJ Assault & Bruiser Brigade will be taking over Club Fantasy for their “Bruiser Thanksgiving 4” on November 22nd.
As for Gorillaz (a British “virtual band” created by Blur’s Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett), what can we say, other than that they put on a fantastic show. No expenses were spared when it came to audio/visual displays, and bringing in top talents. Seeing the original collaborators on stage really brought their live shows to another level. While most bands would settle for a video duet or employing another band member, Gorillaz spent the extra money on their budget to bring in Peven Everett, Jamie Principle, Zebra Katz Little Simz, Jehnny Beth, and De La Soul.
For the artists they couldn’t get to commit to the tour, notably Popcaan (for ‘Saturnz Barz’) and Del the Funky Homosapien (for ‘Clint Eastwood’), their contributions were shown on the video screen.
On the music portion of Gorillaz is, of course, Damon Albarn on singing duties, but occasional on piano, guitars, keytar, and the melodica, when the song called for it. Mike Smith on keyboards, Jeff Wootton on lead guitar, Seye Adelekan on bass and ukulele, Gabriel Wallace on drums, Karl Vanden Bossche on additional drums and percussion, Jesse Hackett on keyboards, and a gospel choir: Angel Silvera, Petra Luke, Rebecca Freckleton, Michelle, Matthew Allen, and Marcus Anthony Johnson.
For the guest rappers, they often bring an interesting take of their songs. The songs aren’t 100% the same as you hear on the recorded studio album. For example, De La Soul changed some of their verses around, and Zebra Katz brought a visual element to their song by dressing up in a truly unique fashion. The visuals and dancing from Katz and Jamie Principle definitely change the way you perceive ‘Sex Murder Party’.
The biggest surprise, at least for me, was the appearance of Jehnny Beth (from Savages), as she isn’t considered a hip hop or rapper. Savages is more on the punk / rock side of the genre, so hearing her sing with Damon Albarn for ‘We Got the Power’ was a real treat.
We’re happy to see Gorillaz do so well in America, especially because we have previously stated that Albarn’s other band Blur had failed to break America after possibly seeing Blur’s last American show in 2015.
Gorillaz continues their successful Humanz tour:
10/05/2017 Forum Inglewood, CA
10/08/2017 Austin City Limits Music Festiva
10/11/2017 Infinite Energy Center Duluth, GA
10/13/2017 III Points Festival
10/15/2017 Austin City Limits Music Festival
11/01/2017 Rockhal Club Luxembourg, Luxembourg
11/02/2017 Wiener Stadthalle Vienna, Austria
11/04/2017 Royal Arena Copenhagen, Denmark
11/05/2017 Oslo Spektrum Arena Oslo, Norway
11/06/2017 Hovet Stockholm, Sweden
11/08/2017 Samsung Hall Zurich, Switzerland
11/09/2017 Geneva Arena Geneva, Switzerland
11/11/2017 Zenith - Die Kulturhalle Munich, Germany
11/13/2017 BudapestArena Budapest, Hungary
11/14/2017 O2 Arena Prague, Czech Republic
11/17/2017 Max-Schmeling-Halle Berlin, Germany
11/18/2017 Mitsubishi Electric Halle Dusseldorf, Germany
11/19/2017 Alsterdorfer Sporthalle Hamburg, Germany
11/21/2017 Ziggo Dome Amsterdam, Netherlands
11/22/2017 Forest National Brussels, Belgium
11/24/2017 Zenith Paris Paris, France
11/25/2017 Zenith Paris Paris, France
11/27/2017 The Brighton Centre Brighton, United Kingdom
11/29/2017 The SSE Hydro Glasgow, United Kingdom
12/01/2017 Manchester Arena Manchester, United Kingdom
12/02/2017 Arena Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom
12/04/2017 The O2 - London London, United Kingdom
12/05/2017 The O2 - London London, United Kingdom
12/13/2017 Velodromo Montevideo, Uruguay
12/16/2017 Bue Festival
Gorillaz (Damon Albarn)
|Gorillaz (Damon Albarn)|
Gorillaz (Damon Albarn)
|Gorillaz||Peven Everett||Little Simz||Gorillaz with Jehnny Beth|
Gorillaz (with De La Soul) at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul (20 September 2017)