It was fitting that the final stop on Goldfrapp’s U.S. tour, at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, began with Cerrone’s “Supernature,” the namesake of their latest studio album and the likely impetus behind the duo’s shift from ’shroomy trip-hop to ecstasy-ed nü-disco. So it was unexpected that when they finally took the stage it was with the gauzy, mid-tempo “Utopia” and “Lovely Head,” songs from their first (and best) album, Felt Mountain. Goldfrapp’s set, which dipped into each of their three albums, was otherwise seamless, bouncing between recent club hits like “Ride a White Horse” and moodier pieces like the title track from the decadent Black Cherry. Despite her operatic, almost possessed vocals, Alison Goldfrapp is a rather lifeless presence when she’s not performing, mumbling halfway into the microphone in between songs. But by the halfway point it seemed appropriate: She’s like a dressed-up mannequin come to life with just one stroke of a keytar. The man behind the portmanteau (and violin) looked like a cross between Jesus Christ and Bob from Twin Peaks, which only added to the evening’s electro-creepy undertones, which included sexy backup dancers dressed in horse and wolf heads. (It would have been a trip to hear Goldfrapp do their own version of “Supernature,” or to hear Alison’s alpine voice attempt a Donna Summer classic like “I Feel Love,” but maybe they’re saving that for the next record, which will need to go someplace new if they’re going to maintain any kind of creative momentum.) The set ended with a raucous version of “Ooh La La” from Supernature before Alison and company returned for two encores, including the fan favorite “Strict Machine,” which fully exploited the venue’s sub-bass capacities to the point where the vibrations in your gut made it impossible not to move your feet. Standing amid a sea of bobbing heads (some wearing wolf masks, some smoking weed, but, thankfully, no glow sticks), I thought of my now-91-year-old grandmother telling me how she used to go dancing at the Roseland Ballroom in the 1930s. I’m guessing it was nothing like this.
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