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Anyone who has ever seen Grouplove live cannot deny that this group lives up to its name. If their matching “Grouplove” tattoos aren’t enough to convince you, the natural chemistry within the band makes it clear the members are best friends.
Grouplove preformed last Saturday night in front of a packed crowd at Royale Boston Nightclub. The quintet started the show off big with their song “Itchin’ on a Photograph” off their debut album Never Trust a Happy Song. The primarily indie rock band formed in California in 2010 after all meeting by chance at an artist’s convention on the shores of Crete, Greece in 2008.
One of the things I love most about concerts is seeing how a band interacts with each other. I’ve found many bands, no matter how well they interact with the crowd, seem to be in their own world while they’re playing. This was not the case with Grouplove. The energy of the band was evident; you could tell they were having just as much fun as you were. Singer/Pianist/Band Mother Hannah Hooper was quite literally hopping around stage. One moment dancing over to bassist/pro surfer/total hunk Andrew Wessen the next stealing the microphone of singer/guitarist/tortured soul Christian Zucconi. In the song “Don’t Say Oh Well” Zucconi sings the line, “And I told my bandmates, they are my soul mates,” as Hooper skips over to Wessen’s microphone and sassily retorts, “Thank you!” Every single member of the band had their moment, all taking the time between songs to joke around with the crowd.
One thing I love about seeing a band early on in their carrier is that the members play a lot of songs you’ll probably never here them play again. Grouplove played the entirety of their album Never Trust a Happy Song plus a few extras including a brilliant cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” (For more on what makes the perfect show, check out Vijayta’s article). It’s hard to pin point who the definitive lead singer of Grouplove is. Though the vocals are primarily shared by Zucconi and Hopper, Gadd and Wessen also sang. Even this adds to the dynamic of the band; they all shared the spotlight.
Just when they had you dancing and singing at the top of your lungs, they went and broke your heart. The quintet came back for their encore and announced that, if it was okay with us, they were going to try something different. They asked the audience to be completely quiet and instantly the venue became numbingly silent. You were suddenly aware of the ringing in your ears. The band made their way to the front of the stage all standing together, arms around each other, except Wessen, who sat on the edge of the stage in front of them with his feet dangling off. An acoustic guitar starts playing, and Christian Zucconi’s voice starts singing, without the help of a microphone, the beginning lines of “Cruel and Beautiful World.” The whole crowd was trembling, engulfed in the beauty of the moment, as the rest of the band chimed into the lyrics. The chorus came and the silent venue erupted into an earth shattering howl, belting out the lines: “Cause it’s a cruel and beautiful world and I got my girl / and if it seems like we’re falling behind, we’re just slippin’ and tuggin’ from the mouths of our mind.” You could feel the absolute sorrow in each person’s voice, and the feeling of total connectedness. This writer is not ashamed to admit the literal tears streaming down her checks.
After some recollecting, the band hopped right back into their happy groove with newer song “Borderlines and Aliens,” and then finished up the night with hits “Tongue Tied” (which was featured on an itunes commercial) and “Colours.”
I took a break from photographing/dancing/acting generally crazy for a moment to sit back and relish in the moment. Words can’t accurately describe how it feels to be standing in a photo pit inches away from your favorite band, who is playing your favorite song, on your freaking birthday.
Do yourself a favor and download Grouplove’s debut album Never Trust a Happy Song here