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Vivid, Carriageworks, June 2

The cavernous railway workshop space that is the larger of the gig rooms at Carriageworks, filled with flamboyantly festooned fans bursting out of animal print and leather, hosted a night seemingly brought to you by the letters E and (special) K, and offering more uses for Red Bull, winter-denying bare flesh and wide grins and even wider eyes than clinically approved.

It was not the place to bring up any quibbles there might be about Goldfrapp in concert unless you wanted to be slapped to death by faux fur vests and buried in remnants of the gozleme being sold just outside the entrance.

Not when Alison Goldfrapp’s voice could fly up the stanchions and swoop around the distant ceiling space in the opening spell of pastoral-in-absentia atmospheric pop. Man, that woman can sing.

Nor when the slap of the bass and the sideways punch of the electronic and live drums made bodies move. Jeez, this is a pretty decent old disco when the energy rises.

And certainly not when Goldfrapp – the woman, not the band impressive in many ways beyond their skill in keeping alive the dream of the keytar – could strike a pose of clenched hand to the ceiling/shiny silver suit glimmering/big haired head bowed. Yep, that’s black power meets Freddie Mercury. In heels.

But quibble I must, if from a safe distance hours after Goldfrapp went home and some of her audience finally stopped fidgeting and gave in to sleep. Goldfrapp shows have this strange way of pulling a crowd to Alison G but not pulling Alison G to the crowd.

There’s undoubted pleasure among the three or four thousand here in sharing the songs, in bouncing off the powerful sound and flying in and out of the high grade screens which serve as the main conduit for anyone further back than the first 20 or so metres as every tall woman and man in six states seems to have flown in for the night.

Everyone can get off on the fact her voice is beautiful, her strength impressive, the songs at their best being a pop art installation of feints and hooks. This is fun.

And yet Goldfrapp never breaks through the curtain of “performance”, never bridges the gap between singer up there and listener down here. Never steps out.

Does it matter given the show is so entertaining? Yes, if you want to be part of the experience not just part of the after effect.

(pic by Daniel Boud)

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