If you’re going to kick of your UK tour in a party town like Brighton then you may as well do it in style. Anything less is simply a cop-out and Gorillaz know that better than most.
Albarn and co. open with ‘M1A1’. As the Day of the Dead samples of “Hello!” echo around the Brighton Centre, the band plug in and let rip. It’s obvious to everyone in the house that they mean business and it feels like they’ve got something to prove. The big numbers keep coming with the murky ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ and ‘19/2000’ showcasing Albarn’s ability to write pop perfection, and ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ which sees De La Soul grace the stage. Their inclusion so early lets us know that there are plenty of surprises up Gorillaz’ sleeves, and that bangers, and guest stars, will be in abundance.
After a brief, animated interlude, comes a volley of xxxl hits. ‘On Melancholy Hill’, ‘El Manana’, ‘Saturnz Barz’ and the star of the show, ‘Dirty Harry’, are promptly dispatched to dazzling effect. Sadly, the next few songs fall a bit flat after the bombastic level of exuberance. Even Peven Everett’s guest spot on ‘Strobelite’ cann’t lift the mood and the less said about ‘Sex Murder Party’ the better…
However, five songs soon re-galvanize the crowd. On ‘Garage Palace’, Little Simz showed why she deserves the hype she’s been getting. ‘Punk’ does what it says on the tin and the audience laps it up. Peven Everett shines on ‘Stylo’ and fills in wonderfully for the late Bobby Womack. ‘Feel Good Inc.’ - with De La Soul owning it once again - and ‘We Got the Power’ round off an incredible main set.
Gorillaz aren’t just a band, they’re a spectacle. They are at their best in a big venue, firing on all cylinders and playing off the crowd’s energy and excitement. Though some judicious pruning could have been called for, Gorillaz are an act worthy of your, or anybody’s, time. Catch then when you can.
Words: Nick Roseblade