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Grouplove Comes Home At The Wiltern

Sarah Mickelson |
November 18, 2012 | 4:24 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Grouplove dropped by The Wiltern Saturday evening to headline a sold out show featuring tunes from their freshman album, "Never Trust A Happy Song."

Though it was a rainy evening, dedicated fans lined up outside the venue hours ahead of showtime in order to score a great spot close to the stage. 

Upon entering the theatre, concert goers were immediately greeted with the smell of popcorn and over-priced beer. The air was already thick from fake fog that crept in from the main room, meant to create an intimate mood. Even through the fog, it was hard not to notice the venue's intricate art deco interior: a welcome change from the drab floors and ceilings of most smaller venues in LA.

A short walk from the entrance into the stage area revealed just how accommodating the venue was; the bottom floor is spacious for the many who wish to stand, and the upper terrace is lined with multiple rows of assigned seating.

Doors opened at 8 and a relatively unknown band called Superhumanoids started promptly thirty minutes later. Next out was a local band called Papa, who surprisingly had quite a few fans in the audience. Interestingly, the drum player was also the lead singer—a rarity among musicians; drummers usually blend into the background, seemingly mute, so this was a welcome change. 

Papa's indie alternative beats got the crowd pumped up for Grouplove, and the excitement culminated when Papa's lead singer crowdsurfed during their last song. Papa seems to be on the rise, and they're worth checking out. 

Finally, at 10:15 the crowd was ready for Grouplove to take the stage. While simple, their set evoked a homey feel... as did some of their outfits. Table lamps one would find on a bedside table encircled the band on stage, plus band member Hannah Hooper was dressed in a kimono and skeleton onesie, while lead singer Christian Zucconi was dressed in a robe. It almost felt like the audience was at home with the band, which made the show all the more comforting.

The band opened with their latest single, "Itchin' On A Photograph," and immediately the audience was blown away by their stage presence. Their energy was apparent not only in their dancing around the stage, but also in their animated hair.

Three of the band members have long hair (none of whom are the lone female in the group), and their head banging meant locks of hair were flowing throughout the set. Hannah added to this energy with her constant spinning, reminiscent of a teenager rocking out in her bedroom, again adding to the feeling the audience was at home with the band. 

At one point in the show, Grouplove treated the audience to a new song entitled "Flowers" that the audience seemed to love. If this song is any indication, their sophomore album due out next April is going to be another hit.

For their encore, the band emerged in darkness ready to sing "Cruel and Beautiful World" completely acoustic surrounding a single lit lamp center stage.

The simplicity of their delivery made the audience feel as if they were hanging out with the band in their living room. Grouplove followed this beautiful harmony with their all time best hit, "Tongue Tied," which they finished by throwing in a little of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" to much acclaim.

As a fitting end to a great show, the band finished off by playing "Colours" and blowing confetti above the audience. 

Throughout the performance, Grouplove seemed truly grateful for their fans and humbled by the opportunites they've been given. It's refreshing to see bands that haven't been jaded by their success. They succeeded in making the audience feel like a part of their family and truly made the audience feel the group love. 

Read more of NT's show reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Sarah Mickelson here.



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