After a year of Billboard Top chart spots, award shows, and endless covers, this Wednesday it was time for Gotye to finally ascend the one of the few “top” spots he hadn’t hit yet: Red Rocks and it’s elevation of 6,450 ft. A drastic climate change for this tour full of Australians, it seemed as though the rocker from down under along with countrymen Missy Higgins, and Jonti all enjoyed their chance to play a show at the majestic venue this past Wednesday night. The first stop on their fall North American tour, all three acts seemed ready and excited to perform. Despite the few technical hiccups here and there, it seemed like a perfect send off for the rest of their fall tour.
First up was Jonti, an Aussie DJ with a style all his own. Similar to the diverse, experimental, and airy sounds of Gotye’s earlier work, his set was short yet interesting. With the exception of a few mechanical mishaps later on in his set, I was interested by his exploratory sound. Using a wide range of beats, rhythms, and even live guitar samples and loops, each track was different and unique. Although some might feel its a bit too unorganized for their taste, there is definitely some pop-aspect to his work that many will enjoy. Beginning to end, this young performer seemed elated to have the opportunity to play one of the nation’s most renowned musical venues, smiling ear to ear.
As dusk had settled in around the venue, Missy Higgins and her band took the stage. Beginning her set guitar in hand and progressing to her piano later in the evening, the crowd was excited and ready to hear from the lovely young songstress. Playing songs new and old, Higgins’ beautiful, bluesy voice seemed fitting for the rainy, grey evening. Playing songs like “Hello Hello” and “Watering Hole” off of her newest release, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, as well as fan favorites like “Where I Stood” and “Warm Whispers”, fans seemed to enjoy her light and melodic set. Hearing the growth in writing and musical style from Missy’s earlier work till now was really fun: she’s found her own way to bring more of a rock sound to her music. Beginning to drift from the strict singer/songwriter sound, I loved seeing her performing with a full band, bringing a great dynamic and more “whole” sound to pair with her unique voice. Although I found her music a bit of an odd pairing to Gotye initially, her light and upbeat music was a perfect compliment to the heavy, rhythmic beating sounds of Gotye’s set.
Taking stage just shortly before 10pm, fans were ecstatic and curious to hear and see what Wally De Backer and his band had to offer, and I assure you, they weren’t disappointed. Opening the set with “The Only Way”, I was immediately blown away by the visual aspect of his set. With video being projected onto the rock wall directly behind stage, his set was as visually captivating as the music was through the entire set. Switching between scenes that looked more commonplace on a painter’s canvas or a computer screen saver, and other music video-esque scenes, both the music and the visuals complimented one another perfectly, something I find necessary at a venue like Red Rocks. Playing a slew of songs off old records and new, any members of the audience who had only heard “Somebody That I Used To Know” were certainly in for a surprise as much of the rest of Gotye’s catalog is much more diverse. All five performers floated around stage switching instruments seamlessly all night long. Their musicianship and talent was incredible, not to mention exciting to watch. With Gotye switching behind multiple sets of drum and sampling pads all over stage, even landing behind the full drum kit at the end of the night, watching him play was both fascinating and fun, leaving fans to wonder what group of instruments and sounds was coming next.
Although a majority of his success comes from the success of “Somebody That I Used To Know”, the rest of his catalog is diverse, complex, and creative; anyone who enjoys good production, unique songwriting, and creative instrumentation should dig deeper into his discography and take a listen, I promise you won’t be disappointed. This man is full of passion and pure talent - I’m excited to see what this year full of new experiences brings to his music.
I’m not sure If I was more impressed with the music or the effects, but make no mistake: Gotye is not an act to miss live. This show is definitely going towards the top of my favorite performances from this year! I haven’t ever seen a show so immersive, dynamic, or overall impressive...he’s definitely the only guy I would ever guess knows how to play every instrument/piece of equipment available at Guitar Center. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for new work from him, but in the meantime, be sure to pick up a copy of his full length Making Mirrors, the only album he currently has available in the US. Check out more photos here.