“Groove Armada Live at Webster Hall w/ DJ Set at the W Hotel, NYC”
For Green Shoelace
By Michael Bradshaw
Watching the promo blitz around Groove Armada’s wonderful new album, Black Light makes me feel old.
First, there was the DJ set at the W Hotel in Midtown Tuesday night. That is, the W Hotel’s lounge, which was transformed into a mini club complete with bouncers and red velvet ropes that cordoned the party from the check-in desk.
A few minutes after arriving at The W, I snapped a picture from the mezzanine overlooking an impromptu dance floor. I was immediately approached by bouncer in an impressive suit.
“No pictures, sir.”
“Who do you work for?”
“You’ve never heard of it.”
By way of that perfect, silent language of club bouncers, I understood that I was seconds from meeting the street.
Luckily, I was rescued by the band’s PR rep and ushered to the DJ stand. Four CDJ’s and two mixers idled in the dim of purple halogen lamps.
Andy Cato and Tom Findlay tapped out the tracks, occasionally pumping their fists. Spike-haired guys in jackets and wrap-around glasses grooved drunkenly with girls who, well, girls who would dance with them.
There was the Michel Jackson remix. Then another Michel Jackson remix. I kept waiting for Findlay and Cato’s new collection of masterfully crafted, goose-bump-raising stormers like, “I Won’t Kneel” and “Paper Romance”. These songs are so evocative, so dripping with future- nostalgia, it’s a wonder how their composers could lower themselves to tickling remixes of “You Don’t Know Me” at The W in Midtown on a Tuesday night. The album is collaborated with Nick Littlemore (Empire of the Sun) and SaintSaviour it shows. A new sound for a new era, Groove Armada looks directly into the light of the future renders its sweet darkness in the past: a true masterpiece.
Instead the crowd got yet another rendition of, “Born Slippy”.
Om Records, the patrons of Black Light and perhaps Groove Armada themselves are, like so many other dance acts and labels, mired in a tradition that is simply out of date.
The show at Webster Hall Wednesday was slightly better. However, much of the show’s success is credited to their new songs and to SaintSaviour’s brilliance. A green laser fanned over the sold out crowd. Groove Armada tours with a full band now, so that was cool. The lights and costumes were perfect. The only problem with the show was that it included their old tracks: the old sound of house music, a thing that just sounds old.
At the time of this writing, Winter Electronic Music Festival is happening in Miami and South By Southwest in Austin. It is little wonder to me which new electronic bands will attend which festival. Groove Armada is faced with the problem that it has drafted an important, new, electronic record that has nothing to do with red velvet ropes, bouncers, or the W Hotel. What they will do next may very well determine their relevance to the next generation of electronic music fans. Their label, it seems, has already pretty much been forgotten.