For a band that has been on a live-show hiatus for the last five years, Groove Armada has not lost its touch. A mini-tour to celebrate 21 years of entertainment took place in a select set of venues – Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester and London. Sticky-floored Electric Brixton, a venue with its own pedigree on the club scene, hosted the London show. Even though it isn’t what you might describe as an intimate venue the crowd were captivated from start to finish and the atmosphere was, er, fittingly electric.
So, with a cut price Red Stripe in hand from the bar, Groove Armada’s infectious hits drew us in. Spanning their 21 years in the business, the eclectic set pulled back from the lauded Spotify-topping hits at the beginning, with Girls Say, and 2010 hit Look Me in the Eye Sister. Two vocalists worked the crowd while the seamless backing from the band was record perfect.
In a testament to their range, next, they performed Fogma, an instrumental-led dance hit, followed by anthem My Friend. Dancing was strongly encouraged and, at least in the section of the audience I was standing in, fully embraced. People had clearly come to see them in big groups with circles of people emerging across the floor.
The unbridled joy met by infamous song I see you Baby was something to behold. The fact the band had chosen to use the original sample of the voice, rather than have one of their excellent vocalists cover it was a nod to the fact that that kind of track is kind of impossible to duplicate. After I see you Baby, they played weird 2009 electro banger Get Down to round off.
Not complete without an encore, the set neared the end again with At the River. After thanking the crew they travel with and the band in his only direct correspondence with the audience, producer Andy Cato effortlessly delivered the trombone solo now synonymous with decadent food due to Marks & Spencer.
Concluding with Chicago followed by Superstylin’, no Groove Armada fan, or indeed no fan of a good dance, can have left disappointed. I left with the strong belief that this is the house that funk built – and Groove Armada pulled it off in style. My only question is are they going to make us wait another five years for the next smattering of live brilliance?
Lucy Harley-Mckeown | WRITER
Bobby Vasilev | PHOTOGRAPHER