Genre conquering duo Groove Armada (Andy Cato and Tom Findlay) immersed an energised and dedicated crowd in their characteristically fruitful fusion of jazz, funk, rap, dance and house, upholding their legacy formed from rapid success during the mid-nineties. Although Monday’s (11/10) performance was recently confirmed to be a night in their final tour for up to three years, vitality continued to pulse hard until the very end.
SaintSaviour, Groove Armada’s current front-woman and primary vocalist on their latest album Black Light, captivated fans with her beautifully freakish, slightly unnerving and disjointed, yet remarkably fluid display of rhythm (it is great to witness, but too complex to describe without sounding laughably hypocritical). Beginning the night with Look Me In the Eye Sister, her studio-quality vocals are carried on a deep coarseness that hints at the accent of a New Yorker – unusual for a Londoner, but not totally unforeseen thanks to her “NEW F*CKING YORK” t-shirt.
A guest appearance from MC Mike Daniel (aka M.A.D.) warped time in the LCR when he took to the stage with Superstylin’. From the left emerged a crew member with Cato’s legendary trombone; the atmosphere peaked and was accentuated by one of the most renowned fanfares of all time. Shortly afterwards muted tones were reverberating, signalling the arrival of At The River (the music from the M&S advert for those who are wondering – shame on you).
The audience, comprised of a broad range of ages, clearly reflected how extensively Groove Armada have influenced both the industry and people’s taste. Made up of fourteen year olds, undergraduates, thirty-something office cubical workers and even the occasional walking stick wielder, it was impossible not to notice the diversity. Similarly starkly apparent was the devotion of their fans; the bass purred and the crowd vibrated – throughout the entirety of the live performance nobody stood still.
However, more distinctive than illicit clothing, flourishing brass and raving grandmothers was the on-stage relationship between band members. Their gratitude for each other and the charisma that demonstrated it hummed appreciatively beneath the bass. Grinning with animation, Findlay consistently directed the attention of the audience to his counterparts about to perform a renowned element in one of Groove Armada’s staggeringly famous tracks; there was a prominent eagerness to credit those deserving – which was unquestionably everybody on stage.
It was an astoundingly impressive night punctuated by an exclusive atmosphere that Groove Armada achieve effortlessly.