Grouplove and Groupthink on Display at Mercury Lounge

April 11th, 2011

Grouplove – Mercury Lounge – April 8, 2011

Grouplove’s members all have the same tattoo on their right forearm, just below the elbow: GROUP. This enterprise of committing to one another ran so deep on Friday night at Mercury Lounge that their bassist, an unknown injury covered in a bandage in the tattoo’s spot, scrawled GROUP in black marker over top of the wound’s dressing. The five people in this band might be sick of their own story (boy meets girl, boy and girl go to exile in Greece, meet rest of band, move to L.A., make awesome songs, get signed to label) but that didn’t show as they expressed collective ideas in shouting group vocals, smiles and, yes, black marker.

The set began with the thesis-statement tune “Don’t Say Oh Well,” a song loosely about trying to care about things, before Grouplove ran through soon-to-be-released material like “A Lovely Cup” and the explosive “Itchin’ on a Photograph.” Lead singers Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi stared at each other briefly, flirtatiously, on “Love Will Save Your Soul,” a possible ode to their meeting and romance. Despite the equitable nature of this band, its batteries are still largely charged from this look and this relationship.

In the same spirit, Grouplove’s show funneled down to their last and best song, “Colours.” It’s about elevation, as Zucconi’s and Hooper’s vocals rode the bassline into the chorus, screaming, “It really ain’t that bad.” Zucconi exploded himself onstage, a thrashing mess of sweat, hair and energy, turning an acoustic guitar into an instrument of life and death. It was their story set to music. The song’s final shouting lyric—“We call it life,” an eruptive tautology—seemed to say it all. —Geoff Nelson