The 42-man Gorillaz live spectacle came to London last Thursday (April 29) and NME was there covering it from every angle. Get this week’s mag for the full story, and keep clicking to see the celeb-packed extravaganza in all its glory.
Damon soundchecks at the Gorillaz gig at London’s Roundhouse in Camden. It was an ambitious undertaking that involved huge production, complicated visuals and a load of celebrity cameos. It was their first UK gig proper since their 2005 Manchester residency.
Paul Simonon of The Clash poses in his best sailor’s outfit during the soundcheck. Along with fellow Clash man Mick Jones he made up part of the core Gorillaz band, which was augmented by strings and a small choir.
Gorillaz’ visual artist Jamie Hewitt at the Roundhouse last Thursday (April 29th). He looked after the visual aspects of the gig and told NME: “Damon and I started working on this album [‘Plastic Beach’] at the same time, but I’ll be working on it until next March with videos and things like that.”
In the past, screens and holograms have been used, but last week’s ambitious show saw live players and stunning imagery share equal billing on one giant screen.
Mick Jones onstage at the Roundhouse with Gorillaz. “Mick and Paul from The Clash? Legendary dudes,” said De La Soul’s Posdnuos, who appeared onstage during the set, in this week’s NME.
Speaking of him, De La Soul’s Posdnuos salutes NME photographer Andy Willsher at the Roundhouse during soundcheck. He appears on the ‘Plastic Beach’ track ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, who also made an appearance.
Speaking of Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, here he is backstage at the Roundhouse in Camden posing in a wolly hat ahead of the gig. “It’s like watching television,” he said of taking part.
Mos Def poses backstage at the Roundhouse. He lends vocals to recent single ‘Stylo’ along with Bobby Womack, and both appeared onstage last week.
Little Dragon take a break from soundchecking with Gorillaz at the Roundhouse. They contributed to ‘Empire Ants’.
Damon has time for a quick shot ahead of the Gorillaz live show. He told us that that it cost a lot to stage the shows. “We’re making money,” he admitted, “but we’re spending it like… Lady Gaga, she’s not even close!”
Shaun Ryder makes an appearance during ‘DARE’, their number one single from 2005’s ‘Demon Days’.
And Shaun Ryder’s head makes an appearance during ‘DARE’ also, as the video is screened simultaneously with the live performance.
To ensure the band and visuals synch up properly, the band have to be note perfect. “People will think it’s on tape because we’re so well rehearsed,” Damon admitted.
Gorillaz’ string section were also dressed like sailors at the Roundhouse show last Thursday (April 29). Damon recently announced that he has two albums’ worth of material left over from the ‘Plastic Beach’ sessions.
Snoop Dogg was one of the few collaborators that couldn’t make it to the Roundhouse, so his performance during opener ‘Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach’ came via a special pre-recorded video broadcast.
If you missed the Roundhouse dates fear not, as Gorillaz have just been confirmed for this summer’s Benicassim festival, which takes place near Valencia on July 15-18.
Merchandise on sale at the Gorillaz gig last Thursday (April 29). Get this week’s NME for the full lowdown.