Gotye and Missy Higgins at Myth, 8/26/12
Photo by Tony Nelson
Gotye with Missy Higgins
Myth Nightclub, Maplewood
August 26, 2012
Gotye didn't let the downsizing of his scheduled local show from the Target Center to the Myth affect him in the least on Sunday night, as he capitalized on the opportunity to connect with his passionate fans in a smaller, more intimate venue while still bringing the sound and set up of an arena show along with him. The Australian singer/songwriter and a talented four-piece backing band delighted the packed club with a well-paced, spirited 95-minute set that was consistently augmented by wonderful animations and illustrations playing out on the big backdrop behind them.
Fellow Australian Missy Higgins opened the night with a bouncy, soulful set of acoustic-based pop songs that went over well with the swelling crowd, especially when combined with her affable on-stage demeanor. Higgins band had a local tie to the area as well, as she announced that guitarist Tyler Burkum is from Minneapolis. She played quite a few tracks from her new album, The Ol' Razzle Dazzle, and "Tricks" and "Watering Hole" proved to be just as big crowd-pleasers as her older hits.
Photo by Tony Nelson
After an impassioned take on "Everyone's Waiting," Higgins admitted that she and the band dutifully took in the State Fair earlier in the day, and she came away impressed. "It was so enormous. We call them shows back home, but they don't compare really. You guys even have fried beer-on-a-stick, which doesn't even make sense." Higgins sprightly opening set really helped set the stage well for the headliner (and insured her of a larger audience of her own next time she comes to Minnesota), and after an earnest version of "Scar," she left to a rousing ovation, having made plenty of new fans on the night.
Gotye and his band announced the start of their set with a few thunderous drum strokes that quickly got everyone's attention. He started the performance with a dynamic rendition of "The Only Way" while perched on a small riser at the back of the stage (sort of like Tool's Maynard Keenan, without the aggro posturing), but would move to all points of the large stage as he bounced from one instrument to the other throughout the show. "Easy Way Out" quickly followed, and featured an edgy, angular guitar riff while Gotye kept the beat.
Gotye addressed the crowd while perhaps still being confused as to exactly where he was, "Hey there, Minneapolis. Thank you for coming out tonight." But there was nothing confusing about his performance, as he and the band were definitely road tested and locked in all evening, with their propulsive, textured sounds ringing out pristinely over the Myth's commendable soundsystem. The enormous screen behind the band also featured colorful animated films and videos which only accentuated the songs themselves, giving the entire evening a theatrical feel and sound.
The soulful, '50s cool of "What Do You Want?" from Gotye's debut, Boardface, and "Thanks For Your Time," from his second album, Like Drawing Blood, allowed him the chance to share his back catalog with some of his newer fans. But it didn't matter if the songs were old or new, the supportive crowd loved it all. Gotye halted the show for a moment when he found out the video for the next song wasn't working properly, telling us, "I really want you to see this video. It's by my friends Ivan and Greg from Rubber House in Melbourne." And indeed, the somewhat twisted animated video certainly helped augment the hypnotic, Gorillaz-like instrumental, "Seven Hours With A Backseat Driver."
Photos By Tony Nelson
Saiman Chow from Blacklist provided the captivating visuals for a rousing version of the Making Mirrors bonus track, "Dig Your Own Hole," again giving the song an added bit of drama due to the terrific video accompaniment. Expansive panoramas that gave way to surreal, Dali-esque desolation enhanced a rousing run through of "Eyes Wide Open," a song which Gotye claimed everyone would know, and most did. After a crowd singalong on the piano-laden "Save Me," a mercurial, synth-driven "The Only Thing I Know" truly gave the later portion of the set a much needed spark, as Gotye took to the drum kit (quite well, I might add) to give the decidedly '80s influenced number a kick.
But after a plodding acoustic version of "Giving Me A Chance" really dragged the set down, a musical jolt was needed once again. It's nice to see artists have some fun with their biggest hits instead of shying away from their appeal, and Gotye introduced "Somebody That I Used To Know," by playing a YouTube video of an older gentlemen giving lessons on how to play the song on guitar. The band even good-naturedly played along with his instructions for a bit, before they took over and delivered a stirring version of the smash hit. Without Kimbra's involvement, I thought for sure Missy Higgins would come out and sing her familiar part, but instead the girls in the crowd sang her anguished verse unprompted, in full voice, giving the passionate song an even greater emotional impact.
Photos By Tony Nelson
The set closed with a couple older numbers from Like Drawing Blood, a moody take on "Heart's A Mess," and the atmospheric soundscapes of "Night Drive," which featured blurred images of street lights and city scenes that gave the song an even stronger isolated ambiance. Perhaps realizing his earlier mistake, Gotye left the stage with a jocular goodbye to the crowd, "Thank you, Minneapolis'ssss" as his fans roared their approval.
The encore was short and sweet, and kicked off with an emphatic, Squeeze-like version of "I Feel Better," which was quickly followed by a vigorous run through of "Learnalilgivinanlovin," which featured Gotye bounding around the stage beating on whatever drums he could find while Tim Shields provided an electronic-aided saxophone solo which brought the night to a vibrant close. Gotye may have made it on the American musical radar through the strength and success of "Somebody That I Used To Know," but on Sunday night at the Myth, he proved that he has many other interesting songs in his arsenal and a terrific back catalog that his new fans can go back and discover before he plays here again.
Personal Bias: Other than a few songs, including "the hit" of course, I wasn't all too familiar with Gotye coming into the show, but I definitely left as a newly converted fan. His textured, percussive songs really resonated with me, as did the fantastic films and animations that truly added to the spectacle of the show.
The Crowd: If it wasn't a completely full house, it was certainly close. And while the crowd skewed towards younger girls, there were plenty of older fans there as well.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Some guy named Gotye is playing in there. I have no idea who he is either." -- A parking lot attendant in conversation with a pickup truck driver who was wondering who was playing the Myth that night.
Random Notebook Dump: This was my first journey out to Myth, and I came away truly impressed with the venue. The club features a big stage with plenty of unobstructed sight lines throughout the club (especially from my VIP booth upstairs--thanks Myth!), as well as a crystal clear soundsystem, spacious walkways, and free parking, all of which really made for an enjoyable concert experience all around.
The Only Way
Easy Way Out
What Do You Want?
Smoke And Mirrors
Thanks For Your Time
State Of The Art
Seven Hours With A Backseat Driver
Dig Your Own Hole
Eyes Wide Open
The Only Thing I Know
Giving Me A Chance
Somebody That I Used To Know
Heart's A Mess
I Feel Better (Encore)
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