Grouplove – Terminal 5 – March 26, 2014
Last time Grouplove played Terminal 5, this city (and much of the East Coast) was still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, something that informed how the band approached their set that night—and it was even worthy of a mention from lead singer Christian Zucconi during their show last night. But this time around the band, unburdened from the task of assuaging the fears and pains of the community they were playing for, let loose a little more and showed why they’ve become one of the hottest tickets around.
The California band is certainly one you’ve heard if not one you’ve heard of, as both of their albums are filled with songs that have been licensed for everything from beer commercials to Girls promos. Their West Coast roots influence their often airy, sunshine-ready rock sound, equally matched by a relentless momentum provided by heavily present (and catchy on their own) basslines and backed by thumping drums along an always danceable beat. Plus there are three- and four-part harmonies, and while each band member carries a seemingly endless amount of energy to expend during a set, Grouplove’s main draw is the back-and-forth vocals between Zucconi and Hannah Hooper.
Upbeat is almost a limiting word when it comes to describing Grouplove’s music, as songs like “I’m with You” and “Shark Attack” (both fan favorites) are more four- and five-minute parties unto themselves, as opposed to just upbeat songs. But thanks to their wild, genre-bending sound, the band can veer in other directions too, like taking the stage to Kanye and GOOD Music’s “Mercy,” or knocking a cover of Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” clear out of the park (with Zucconi, not just Hooper, hitting Queen B’s notes). “What a surprise, New York’s the best night of tour,” said drummer Ryan Rabin late in the set, met by the roar of the sold-out crowd. That’s a comment we get a lot in this town, but last night, he was probably right. —Sean O’Kane