Live Review: Grouplove with Dylan LeBlanc at Camden Barfly – 29th June 2011

By on Wednesday, 6th July 2011 at 2:00 pm

It’s all gone a bit mad at Barfly. There’s people dancing like there’s no tomorrow in the venue and the band have been finished for about 10 minutes. Grouplove, then, have inspired an atmosphere that just refuses to die. How? Well, with their debut EP being full of happy-go-lucky folk-pop with a bit of indie rock thrown in for good measure, it’s plain to see that Grouplove have formed a winning combination to make people smile.

Having been warmed up by what started out as a country set from Dylan LeBlanc and eventually turned into a rock show with guitar solos and steel guitar madness, LeBlanc’s humble charm eventually won over a room full of new and old fans. Beginning with a set of tracks that brought southern America to Camden for a while, LeBlanc took his time to get going but his powerful set of vocal chords made up for what was a weak start. Just as you feared things might get boring though, Pink Floyd at their most  powerful appeared to channel themselves through the band and all were left cheering after his set came to an end.

After gaining fans in the UK sharing the bill with Los Campesinos! in November and playing fantastic sets at the Great Escape and Glastonbury (where they opened the festival on the Park Stage), Grouplove have been building up hype for about a year now. ‘Colours’ found its way onto the internet last year and along with their friends’ track ‘Pumped up Kicks’ by Foster the People, made its way onto a fair few playlists over the year. Their debut EP featured 22 minutes of summer brilliance and their new album, ‘Never Trust a Happy Song’, was announced to be released in September. It’s safe to say, tonight’s crowd (and last night’s, they sold out two dates) are eager to hear what Grouplove have in store. New tracks such as ‘Itchin on a Photograph’ don’t stand out as new due to crowd participation, but at the same time don’t really raise the roof nearly as much as the likes of ‘Gold Coast’ and the heartwarming sound of ‘Naked Kids’ (err…did I just write those words?) whilst ‘Dim the Lights brings a kind of pandemonium’ from both bassist turned speed vocalist Sean Gadd and crowd.

I’ve found that the best gigs make where and who you are irrelevant and as I look around, the front 6 rows are full of people who have forgotten themselves and are simply enjoying the music in front of them. They’re completely on the mark too as Grouplove appear to have taken a room in Camden to the beaches of Los Angeles and brought the party with them. In a big way tonight, the smiling band have brought their hybrid sounds to London and conquered. Finishing the night with an encore of ‘Colours’ requires a lot of dancing and singing from everyone in the room, and with that last burst of energy, Grouplove are done for the night. Breaking England? Job done.

Photos behind the cut.

Dylan LeBlanc


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