Tag Archives: Hannah Hooper

cat_preview

Portugal. The Man and Grouplove Close Out Tour in Central Park

September 17th, 2014

Portugal. The Man/Grouplove – Rumsey Playfield – September 16, 2014

Portugal. The Man – Rumsey Playfield – September 16, 2014

Portugal. The Man

Midway through their set at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Tuesday—the closing night of the Honda Civic TourGrouplove’s Hannah Hooper declared that the tour was all about “making art.” As incongruous as that may sound, the show was one of those rare instances where live rock and roll was elevated to an art form: the music, the lights, the visuals and the crowd interaction. The pairing of Grouplove with Portugal. The Man was an inspired billing, each band bringing a different aesthetic and energy to the performance, and both inspiring a whole lot of singing along, clapping along, waving arms along, pretty much everything along.

After a big-sound set from Typhoon, Grouplove entered amidst a cloud of smoke and a haze of hip-hop over the PA. Their set was 70 minutes of cathartic, jubilant bounce, beginning with the opening “I’m with You” and its sing-along-ready ah ah ahs and oh oh ohs. The audience was in it from the start. Grouplove’s free-form sing-along contrasted with the visuals, which had a sleek, modern feel, colorful geometric rectangles or simulated multihued television static danced on the large-screen backdrop while the audience danced in front. Everyone loves a hit, and Grouplove played plenty of them, highlighted by the ecstatic groover “Tongue Tied.” The set peaked with the couplet of “Slow” and “Borderlines and Aliens,” and particularly the space in between the two, where lights, the band’s movement and the pulsing drums worked together as one entity, eventually releasing into a wild guitar jam. After a rousing “Colours” to close their part of the show, the band returned for a rare mid-show encore, bringing along members of Portugal. The Man for a crowd-riling version of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” everyone screaming the classic lyrics. Any other night it would have been the ultimate sing-along, but there was more to come.

A quick breather later, Portugal. The Man returned and picked up right where Grouplove left off, with another classic-rock along, covering a verse and a chorus or two of Pink Floyd’s anthemic “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” before quickly kicking into their own “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” Their aesthetic was more bright-eyed psychedelic, like crawling into a living version of frontman John Gourley’s bizarre drawings. That is until the lasers came out, transforming Rumsey Playfield into an alien planet, with Portugal. The Man’s music as a galactic soundtrack. The band was in top form, looping verses of multiple songs into coherent medleys, stretching others, like “All Your Light,” into prog-rock freak-outs and dropping snippets of perfectly placed covers throughout. This was live music as art form, the audience digging every moment and singing from beginning to end. Like Grouplove had done, the band saved the biggest moment for their encore, which began with their slow-build rager “Sleep Forever” and ended with all of Grouplove and Typhoon onstage—horns, strings and all—for the second ultimate sing-along of the night, everyone belting out the coda to “Hey Jude”: the final touch on a work of art. —A .Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

cat_preview

Grouplove Let Loose at Terminal 5

March 27th, 2014

Grouplove – Terminal 5 – March 26, 2014

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

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(Grouplove play Terminal 5 again tonight.)

cat_preview

Poised for Bigger Things

September 26th, 2013

Grouplove – The Bowery Ballroom – September 25, 2013


Less than a year since their last big performance in town, the L.A. indie pop-rock band Grouplove returned with a bevy of new songs—and a bit of a new attitude and sound—that showed off a newer sound last night at The Bowery Ballroom. Playing to a packed venue, the quintet threw the kind of joyous dance party that’s often reserved for the city’s bigger rooms. And they got things started with the opening track of their week-old new album, Spreading Rumours, “I’m With You.” This song immediately showed, as it does on the record, Grouplove’s new direction: something more brash than just the sweet, electronic-tinged music they had debuted with on their first album, Never Trust a Happy Song.

The tune began with a quick beat, sparse guitar and bass, and ended in a full-band breakdown, all while relying heavily on the group’s voices. This same sort of style evolution appeared in most of the new material, like “Borderlines and Aliens,” which had an almost Primus-like bassline that turned into a blissful, straight rock chorus, while lead singer Christian Zucconi skewed Eddie Vedder on the vocals and keyboardist Hannah Hooper articulated the cheeky “Arri- Arri- Arri- gato!” shout in the prechorus.

Deeper in the set, Grouplove’s use of hip-hop beats against Vampire Weekend guitars (and even a sample of a steel drum) during “Shark Attack” proved their willingness to experiment with sounds mid-song, all while they wrapped the intentional chaos in a sweet and catchy chorus and kept the crowd dancing. It also didn’t hurt that Hooper’s and Zucconi’s stellar voices could carry just about any song, regardless of genre. The hits from the first album were there, too, like “Colours” and “Tongue Tied.” But if last night’s set is any indication, Grouplove have adjusted their course by mixing genres and adding bold, new material to an already breathtakingly fun live show, and as a result, they’re poised to get even bigger. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

cat_preview

Grouplove Bring a Sense of Normalcy to Terminal 5

November 5th, 2012

Grouplove – Terminal 5 – November 2, 2012


Last week was harrowing for New Yorkers, having to endure flooding, massive power outages and loss, all thanks to Hurricane Sandy. But as the city slowly came back to life, Grouplove’s set at Terminal 5 on Friday night was one of the first events to really help some normalcy return to a torn city.

The crowd stirred loudly with shared tales of survival, but when bassist Sean Gadd appeared onstage, everyone there was instantly matching the hand claps he used to start “Itchin’ on a Photograph.” From that point on, the Los Angeles indie-rockers were in control with their lush blend of vocals, hook-filled songs and stomp-around-the-stage antics. Their diverse set started with bouncier tracks like “Lovely Cup” and “Love Will Save Your Soul,” but as the crowd loosened up, the band grew rowdier by the end with “Close Your Eyes and Count to Ten” and “Slow.”

Grouplove returned for the encore, sitting at the stage’s edge before hushing the audience and performing a beautiful version of “Cruel and Beautiful” without the aid of any microphones or plugs—a fitting way to end the week, giving fans a few hours to forget their woes and have fun again. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

cat_reviews

Grouplove and the Power of Positivity

June 13th, 2012

Grouplove – Webster Hall – June 12, 2012


Basic math teaches us that a double negative is actually a positive: There isn’t no truth to that. The same math teaches us that a double positive is also a positive and you can keep piling them up and stay in the black, which seems to be just the way Grouplove plays it. The Los Angeles band unleashed a tidal wave of positive energy last night at Webster Hall, proving why, in record time, they’ve gone from a “dude, you’ve got to check out these guys” kind of thing to selling out a Tuesday night show. Opening with “Lovely Cup,” the quintet bounced around the stage like toddlers on a playground, taking turns mounting the drum riser, hopping in place and playing their hearts out.

They continued in this vein, thrilling the audience with songs off their ironically titled Never Trust a Happy Song: “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” “Love Will Save Your Soul” and “Naked Kids,” which felt like a modern day version of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” with a car heading to the beach replacing the boat and “here’s to living out our dreams” instead of “life is but a dream.” As the set churned on, everyone in the band got a chance to lead the party. Lead guitarist Andrew Wessen played ukulele and sang on “Spun,” which featured some wonderfully frenetic jamming, and bassist Sean Gadd sang “Chloe.”

While a sold-out show might not be a big deal to some bands, the guys in Grouplove were as hyped to be playing for this crowd as the audience was to be there. One of the night’s best moments was “Slow,” a more deliberate and structured song sung by Hannah Hooper. But then the song flipped, the microphone cables turned fluorescent red and strobe lights flashed while the band built an intense rhythm jam led by drummer Ryan Rabin’s electric blue drumsticks. The encore was highlighted by the band’s hit song, “Tongue Tied,” a glorious bit of pop perfection. And although it seemed Grouplove couldn’t top this, they segued into the most ecstatic cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” you can imagine. Because the math is simple: No matter how many pluses you tack on, the result is always positive. —A. Stein