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MusicUnderFire | February 12, 2016

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Show Review: Gotye @ Tower Theater 9/29/12

Show Review: Gotye @ Tower Theater 9/29/12

On Saturday, September 29th, 2012, the Gotye show at the historic Tower Theater took place. Despite the venue change (originally scheduled over at the Susquehanna Bank Center), the show went on without a hiccup. The crowd was amped up and ready to go. They were probably ready to go any and everywhere, considering the crowds at the bar, but the nevertheless, the energy was good.

With beers in hand, many sauntered down the angled aisles to their assigned seats. Soon enough the lights dim, the crowd roars, and the instrument –littered stage is opaque. When the stage is lit, a full display of lights appears on the projection screen behind the first of two opening acts: Jonti. Who is that, you might ask? He’s a South African music producer, arranger, music-multi-tasker who creates sounds that are futuristic and tribal. He’s also incredibly awkward, humble, and talented.  His set flowed well into one electro-down tempo to more rhythmic, urban sounds. He was so passionate about the sounds that he was creating that it was written all over his face – literally. The crowd threw out a few laughs, and Jonti continued to mold into his music.

The projection design shifted in color arrangements to match the music. It was wildly colorful and bright. I finally understood what KCRW host, Jeremy Soles, meant when he said

[quote]When I think of how to write about Jonti’s music, I don’t feel like writing at all. I feel like drawing a picture, with watercolors and maybe crayon – colorful, abstract, youthfully curious and open to interpretation.[/quote]

Jonti stopped a few times to engage the audience, telling us about his excitement to be in Philly to see long-time friends and family who moved here. He also expressed his gratitude for being on tour, saying they “picked me up out of my bedroom” and took him to the stage. After watching him move around the stage, effortlessly fine-tuning every beat – it was a well-deserved invitation. Despite his undeniable talent, any person requesting “best animal sounds” to a concert shirt way up on my list of awesome.

Second of the opening acts was Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins. Missy is on my top list of favorite artists now. She took the stage and was greeted warmly. Her solo success was evident as audience members shouted praise and ‘I love you’s from their seats. Her pianist (tall and handsome as he was), her guitarist (tall and handsome as he was), and her bassist (tall and badass with her-white-bass-guitar-player as she was) already made Missy a lucky girl, but with the first stroke of her guitar followed by the light rasp of her folk voice, luck turned into incredibly hardworking. She went from track to track of her new album The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle with crowd pleasing favorites such as “Set Me on Fire” and “Everybody’s Waiting,” hitting every note while rocking her sparkly spanks. Missy then moved on to a more country vibe track “If I’m Honest,” which Missy noted “is as country it gets” before revealing that her album was recorded in Nashville. Higgins also took a comedic approach to the crowd’s hoots and hollers, teasingly stating she enjoyed “immediate feedback” before receiving half-hearted applause. She took that opportunity to tease the crowd further about their “mediocre” response and the audience laughed with the young artist. Missy flexed her musical muscles throughout her set, going from guitar to keys, from long notes, to short whispers, keeping the crowd’s attention and earning new fans with every song.  Her exit was an uproar of cheers as she thanked the crowd, the room becoming increasingly tensed for the arrival of Gotye himself.

[Pictures of Gotye @ Tower Theater (9/29/12)]

A few beers later, and the moment had finally arrived. The energy was buzzing and the world nearly shattered when the room blackened. A foot from the stage and it was hardly visible. The audience went insane, jumping to their feet. There was heavy bass, drums pounding, and still no visible persons. And then boom! The beat drops and it’s chaos in the room, lights on, Gotye is on, full energy, but a few are frazzled, frantically looking for his voice before finding him at an angle, playing a hung up flat drum with the mic against his jaw. It’s hard to follow the words with the crowd so loud, but you can’t even care because you’re out of your seat too, watching Gotye, moving to the sounds of epic percussion.  He slows down for just a minute to tell those sitting to head up to the balcony and grab a chair up and away from the floor before performing “Smoke and Mirrors.”

He’s jumping around stage, his band mates following suit. They share instruments, playing simultaneously and teasing one another. It eventually turns into a mid-show jam session between them: Gotye on the keys with his mate Tim. Gotye’s projection screen is shows a freaky, psychedelic cartoon music video for every track. It’s halfway disturbing, halfway intriguing. He moves into a few other tracks, including “Giving Me a Chance” and one of my favorites, “Bronte.” Gotye shows he’s multifaceted too, playing multiple, sometimes unidentifiable, instruments. He also enjoyed a bit of autotuned-teasing as well as a chime from a xylophone.  Finally, he plays his top hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” and as much as I would have loved for Kimbra to come flying out along the stage, Missy Higgins’ surprise cameo did the song much justice. Everybody flipped out (in a great way) and Gotye responded accordingly after the song by tapping a tiny cymbal. Gotye, unconventionally, didn’t end the show on his top track note. He instead opted on an older track called “Night Drive” from his Like Drawing Blood, 2008 released album. It was a great choice and an amazing show. A beer- second-hand-smoke-Missy-Higgins-autographed-CD-later, I was a very happy camper. Thank you, Gotye.

If you missed the Philly show, sucks for you. But on the flipside, you may be able to catch him at another show. Click here  for a list of dates!

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