By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
From left, Grouplove's Andrew Wessen, Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi and Sean Gadd.
There was so much love, or something like it, pouring from the audience during last night's Grouplove concert at The Republik, that my ears are still ringing from the night. It wasn't the band that was deafening, but a crowd of people who just like to hear themselves scream, causing the band to remark at one point, "You guys sure are loud."
It would have been nice to hear more of the band. I'm just sayin'. Oh, and I wish I hadn't been standing next to Ms. "Night at the Roxbury," who kept whipping her high ponytail into my face with her neck going to the left, to the left, to the left.
But, the band welcomes that let it all out abandon with its rootsy, carefree sing-along (even if you can't) vibe. They're in the vanguard of bands with an anti-pop star communal sound, and everyone except drummer Ryan Rabin had a turn at lead vocal last night, with nary an autotune moment.
Lead vocalist Christian Zucconi's primal, off-kilter, out-of-control voice is one of a person who doesn't give a damn about what any critic thinks, and that's part of the charm of this band. Pitchy? Not a problem. They're just putting their heart and soul out there, and it's so refreshing to get a break from the generic formulas of the handful of songwriters employed by the industry to turn out hits for so-called "artists."
Their imperfect sound isn't supposed to be commercial, yet ironically, that "think different" vibe made their song "Tongue Tied," a natural fit for an Apple iPod Touch commercial, which is where I first heard them.
The band played a tight, energetic hourlong set of songs from "Never Trust A Happy Song," saving "Tongue Tied" for the encore, with a bit of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" sandwiched between that song and the haunting "Colours."
What was funny was, right before the encore, someone yelled "Free Bird," from the crowd of mostly people born way after that song was released in 1973. Some concert traditions never die.
Sing the Body, Zack Shimizu and Elijah Oguma on stand-up drums, a real power duo, opened the show.
Hannah and Christian.