A friend of mine and I talked about the Grouplove concert I went to last Saturday, and thanks to him, I came to the conclusion that this has been the greatest concert I’ve attended. Is it taboo to consider the latest gig the best? I thought so – but Grouplove are truly back in business, and don’t mess around. Well, actually, they do mess around, but that’s all part of the show.
Call it stage antics for Ryan Rabin, drummer, to taunt the crowd by pointing at something swimming in the sea of people. Call it stage antics for Hannah Hooper, vocals and keyboard, to see it too, to then scream that there’s a fucking shark in the water to hype the crowd up for “Shark Attack.” Well-played.
The show began with a shirtless Ryan, dressed only in what appeared to be short shorts, taking to the stage for a pre-mature drum solo. The rest of the band followed shortly thereafter, wasting no time to get into the first song of the night: “I’m With You.” Christian Zucconi, vocals and guitar, and Hannah sang to each other during the aforementioned tune, utilizing the stage as a testament of their love. During “Traumatized,” Christian enthusiastically pointed at Hannah while belting “she is my only one true love,” and I SWOONED. Oh my god, do I love my parents, ultimate power couple Hannah and Christian (I am so jealous of their baby. A BABY. I’M JEALOUS OF A BABY.).
Highlights of the show included, but aren’t limited to, Hannah stage-diving three feet away from me, hearing “Borderlines and Aliens” and “Spinning” live, and the absolute exhilaration that arose from the atmosphere. Honorable mention goes to the stripped ballad version of “Enlighten Me” with Christian on stage for the first song of the encore until the explosive last chorus when the rest of the band joined him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry during the beauty of the ballad.
Truly, I can’t fathom how they put on a show each night. From what I’ve witnessed – and my eyes aren’t fooling me, I was situated at the barricade – they put their all into their performances. This is nay a hyperbole, but they never stopped moving. Whether it be jumping, kicking, falling and crawling on the stage, a musician in motion stays in motion. For that reason, I have a grandeur appreciation for the band – as I’m sure everyone else in the Hammerstein Ballroom does too.
There was a segment where Christian admitted this was a very special night for him. More so, he said he used to work at the Hammerstein Ballroom, backstage, and claimed it sucked. And there they were – these stories are breathtaking, at the very least. I always fail to articulate how incredible I find these advancements, though they always strike me. After he announced it, I got a little dizzy just thinking about all the time and hard-work that has gone into getting where they are, and I empathized. Cheers to success, and for sure, cheers to the woman trying to market alcoholic shots that rested on a skateboard to everyone at the barricade.
As the set came to a close with “Colours,” Grouplove taught the crowd that while they can be seen as prominent only from their Tongue Tied days, they are progressing further. Of course, everyone progresses, yes, but they have mastered the art of advancing and learning while still returning to their roots. Everyone went crazy during “Colours” – including Hannah and Christian who had their own mosh on stage, Ryan who jumped into the crowd in his underwear, and Andrew Wessen, guitar, and Daniel Gleason, bass, holding their notes and carrying them until the lights went out.
I cried for the third time of the day on the train. Before performing “Do You Love Someone” Hannah made an announcement about love, and I’m upset I can’t remember it verbatim. It did stick with me, and as I stole a seat on the train from a woman’s purse, I texted my mom that Hannah’s announcement of the song made me think of her. And so I cried, while sweaty after running twenty blocks, after experiencing one of the greatest nights of my life. Please, if you ever get the chance to see Grouplove, do so.
- I’m With You
- Good Morning
- Itchin’ on a Photograph
- Heart of Mine
- Tongue Tied
- Let Me In
- Do You Love Someone
- Shark Attack
- Hippy Hill
- Borderlines and Aliens
- Sabotage (Beastie Boys Cover)
- Welcome to Your Life
- Enlighten Me
- Ways to Go