Chilly the Entertainer

Posted by jill on April 28, 2008

Gonzales, originally uploaded by jellybeanz.

In the last 18 days, I’ve been to 10 shows. This seemingly culminated at my run of 4 shows last week, from members of Low performing in a tiny venue and the joyous experience of dancing at Soulwax. At the time I didn’t expect those shows to be surpassed. But then I had not seen Gonzales before.

Since first listening to Gonzales (via his Breezeblock ‘remix’ in 2002 – which was a remix in the loosest of terms) I’ve struggled to explain what sort of performer he was. He isn’t quite a singer, though he has songs, and a rapper is a poor description of him too. And that’s not even considering his album of piano music released a few years ago. Whatever he tries, it just sounds like Gonzales, although in a completely different style.

What he is, is an entertainer. Even including the Flaming Lips show from 2002, which is among my favourite shows ever, I’ve never been to a gig this much fun. Rather than watching a bunch of musician just playing songs, this show was more like a pantomime. At one point, his band even storms off stage ‘in protest’ about his treatment of them.

Beneath the fun, there were the songs too. As he is releasing his first new album in four years, I expected this show to be more of a showcase, containing only material from the new album. How wrong was I. Although he started with his new songs, very quickly into his set he began playing all the ‘old hits’, and from then the crowd really got involved. Even his cover of ‘Easy lover’ at the end just seemed so right. Clip from another show on the current tour:

Gonzales @ Paris Paris. Soft Power.