Originally scheduled for the cozy Independent venue off Divisadero, Gotye’s show was swiftly moved to the massive Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in light of his overwhelmingly popular and successful hit single “Somebody I Used to Know.” As of this writing, there has been staggering total of 174,076,598 views of the official video on YouTube.
Coming out to the melodic and chimerical “Eyes Wide Open,” the group brought their energy early. The crowd thanked them, cheering and clapping as the last chord of the song rang out. It would be untruthful however, to not admit the awkwardness of the room as the show continued on. It became clear that most of the 8,000 people had come to see one song, and only a small portion – perhaps those who had tickets to see them at the Independent months ago – were fully engaged and appreciative of the rest of the performance. Not necessarily because people weren’t enjoying it; but for many it seemed to be the first time they had heard any other material from the singer-songwriter, let alone see him perform live.
As a casual listener, I was really impressed by both the musicianship and the overall timbre of Wouter “Wally” De Backer’s music. His voice was clearly engaging, and his use of live instrumentation, particularly drums, was the added piece of sound that really sets him over the top. The band that accompanied him on stage was clearly enlightened by the whole experience and were solid performers, and impeccably constructed the live versions of his music. The chilled out groove of the reggae influenced “State of the Art” was another highlight from the 2011 release, Making Mirrors, and the heavy bass line thumped thoruoghout the grandiose Bill Graham PA.
Playing in between their two performances, the group wrapped up Coachella this weekend. Also, this past week “Somebody I Used To Know” topped the Billboard 100 as the Number One song of the week. Congratulations, and here’s to hoping this show intrigued his newly adopted fans enough to fully understand and appreciate his full music catalogue.