Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: AlunaGeorge and MØ at The Academy Dublin (16/10/13)

Before either Aluna or George arrive on the stage at The Academy they've nearly had the whole thing whipped out from under their noses. It's rare to find yourself won over by an opening act but between gyrating on the floor and throwing herself on top of every available surface Mø does a fine job of just that.  

The Danish electro-pop performer has been riding out decent blog buzz and just debuted a solid new EP Bikini Daze including a track co-produced by Diplo and a honing of a sound that is equal parts scrappy and hook driven. In a live setting she's lacking in inhibition but always happy to bring you along for the ride, pleasantly surprised about the response she evokes from the room and diving down into the middle of the crowd by the end. She even manages to style out her mic not working during XXX 88 with an ease that suggests little can phase her.

When AlunaGeorge themselves arrive there's not only a crowd eager to see them, there's also one that have been properly whipped up by the opening act (a rarity). The opening one two punch of Just A Touch and Kaleidoscope Love reminds you of the kind of crunchy electro R&B they turned heads with early on and of the strength of recent released debut Body Music respectively. Aluna is all hip swivels and crowd-rousing charm, her voice humming with an added warmth live. George is happy to play the part of the music-making boffin, eagerly playing alongside but never given a mic of his own to chat to the crowd. 

It's when they launch into current single Best Be Believing that things start to kick into the high-gear we're expecting post Mø. The room sings along and it's obvious that it'll join their arsenal of slick, well received singles. Following with album cut Outlines feels jarring even if the gloomy mid-tempo song is a fine example of how their real strength is creating beautiful R&B pop gems. A brief interlude where the pair jam together breaks the mood somewhat again, showing that their sense of pace is a little skewed.  

Thankfully it segues into their now-infamous cover of Montell Jordan's This Is How We Do It and finally the show starts to ramp up. Album highlight Superstar seems to go down well with fans and win over those who may not know it. Attracting Flies is a clear high point for many in the room while Lost and Found's gurgling beat helps them ramp up the mood and end on a significant pop sugar high.  

It's a false exit, designed to amp up an encore that opens with pre-album cut We Are Chosen. While it's fun to see their love of their earlier stuff it doesn't feel like the encore-ready song the crowd is expecting. Throughout the evening the mood has been upbeat and willing from the hordes of young fans on the floor, although a slightly older and somewhat uninterested top level of punters seems less than bothered. Aluna herself works the room but gives the impression she could probably say a little more to the audience. It's a shame as her presence on stage is carefree and likeable, with a little more chat you feel like she could win even more people over.  

Luckily the final two songs hint at the kind of mostly-great performing they've been tipping off of for the duration. A teasing intro leads into White Noise, their mega hit with Disclosure, that even gets the not very with it upstairs crowd into gear. Your Drums Your Love sends the room into one last sing-along and then it's all over. The duration may have been a bit short and a tad stop-start but AlunaGeorge's knack for bringing their subtle pop textures to life on stage and a truly charismatic star in Aluna Francis means that their live show is a fizzy, engaging proposition. 

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