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Gotye at Epic, 4/4/12

Gotye with Kimbra
Epic, Minneapolis
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Related:
Gotye: I don't care if you mispronounce my name

One hit song can help an artist sell out a room, twice. Moved from the sold-out Varsity Theater to the sold-out Epic, Wally De Backer, aka Gotye, brought his '80s-flavored orchestral pop to Minneapolis to perform a tight, but short set.

As a contrast from the theatrical Kimbra, who wore a puffy pink dress to emphasize her big voice, Wally wore a simple grey T-shirt with jeans to perform, allowing the short films that accompanied each song and the music take center stage. Not to say that he didn't have stage presence, there were many whispers amongst the women in the audience about his sex appeal, but onstage banter was kept to a minimum, with De Backer simply stating how great it was to be in Minneapolis.

The lead singer was an intriguing frontman, splitting his stage time between the mic and various percussion instruments. Most of the band members moved around the stage a bit, keeping up with their varied instruments used to create the audible landscape that made up the evening's set. Opening with the driving "Eyes Wide Open," the band followed up with "Easy Way Out," while backed by a Gorillaz-esque film, which showcased the excellent musicianship onstage.

The set list was an assortment of songs that was more of a melding of effects that served more of an atmospheric effect than distinctive. Often a lot of artists have a hit song that have a certain sound, and they build an album around that sound. The acoustics in Epic were a bit of a hindrance to this effect also, absorbing some of the refinement of the pieces and yielding some of the heavier pieces like "Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You" as a slow, sleepy lullaby.

Naturally when the first few bars of "Somebody I Used to Know," began to play, all was forgotten, especially when opening act Kimbra -- who had changed into a sequin black dress -- came back onstage to sing her part. Both acts delivered with their flawless vocals, sharing a song that many people can relate to with its lyrics that tell of a relationship turned bad.

With the hit song played, which was what the majority of the audience came to see performed live, the show settled into a lull -- even though there was a good half hour left to the show. It didn't help that the band ended with another slow piece, "Heart's A Mess" on the regular set. But, of course, the encore made up for such a Frankenstein-like setlist, including more upbeat pieces such as "In Your Light" and "I Feel Better," and finishing with "Learnalillgivinanlovin," which included a drum solo during the bridge.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: While I enjoyed the music orchestrated by Gotye -- there was so much talent onstage -- the venue really made it really tough to appreciate the show with its awful sight-lines. It's been a while since I've seen a show at Epic, and I honestly thought it would be a different experience. There's something unsatisfying about watching a concert from a television screen.

The Crowd: Varied, from suburbanites to hipsters.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Kimbra reminds me of Katy Perry."

Random Notebook Dump: Texts from my concert buddy, which summed up the show: "I can't see a damn thing!" and "I'm thinking I may head out soon-ish. The hit was played."

Setlist:

Eyes Wide Open
The Only Way
Easy Way Out
Smoke and Mirrors
State of the Art
Thanks For Your Time
Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You
Somebody That I Used to Know
Save Me
Heart's a Mess

Encore
Bronte
In Your Light
I Feel Better
Learnalillgivinanlovin 


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