Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Grouplove at le Poisson Rouge

Vocalist/keyboardist Hannah Hooper met vocalist/guitarist Christian Zucconi in 2009 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan after hearing, and enjoying, his music. Despite having just met, Hooper invited Zucconi to an artist residency in Crete she would be attending later that week. At this retreat, they met guitarist Andrew Wessen, bassist Sean Gadd and drummer Ryan Rabin. A year later, the quintet became Grouplove and recorded an independent self-titled EP. This led to a debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song, in 2011. Grouplove's second and most recent album, Spreading Rumours, was released on September 17, 2013.

Grouplove headlined a free-admission, invitation only concert at le Poisson Rouge, sponsored by Rolling Stone Private Series. The show was postponed from November 11 due to Hooper suffering an inflammation in her vocal chords. The date was rescheduled and tonight became the last show of the year for the Los Angeles-based band. The five musicians gave it their all, turning in an exciting, energetic set of songs that was ignited by an equally responsive audience. The band rocked fiercely in a 1990s alternative rock vein, bookmarked with an unpolished garage-band underpinning. The music grooved well, often to a pogo rhythm, but with a harsh hammer of intensity. Grouplove’s strongest feature was its harmonies, however. Much like the soaring male-female vocal interplay in X in the 1980s, none of the singers was especially outstanding, but together the combination of odd voices made for a curiously engaging sound. This band will go far.

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