Gotye took a break between Coachella weekends to make his way to San Francisco for a Wednesday night show at Bill Graham Civic Center. The show was originally booked for the respectably-sized Independent, but the response was overwhelming and tickets quickly sold out. The show was moved to the 7,000-person Civic Center and it was apparent that even Gotye was surprised at the size of the venue.
Fellow Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins opened the night early, kicking things off around 8. Gotye took the stage by 9:30. The show kicked off with one of his more rockin’ songs “Easy Way Out,” which was accompanied by a japanese-styled Gorillaz-esque animated video projected on a screen behind the stage. Gotye debuted a brand never-before-seen video to complement “Eyes Wide Open”, as well as included his awesome animated take on “State of the Art”.
Wally performed center stage amongst a rig of drums and auxillary percussion. His musical career began as a drummer and it was great to see him incorporating that into the show. His rhythm and dramatized drumming was fantastic and added another element to the surprisingly visual (for a pop show) performance.
The effects on his vocals in “State of the Art” were seemingly live, through some of his vocal harmonies in other songs couldn’t be replicated in person without a backing track. Wally and his band brought a great energy to the stage, and he was good at engaging the crowd between songs. Getting the crowd to react during his songs was another story though. There was absolutely no one dancing, and when he asked for people to sing, he was met with a half-hearted response. It was the toughest crowd this writer has ever seen, and it was even more disappointing to see the rush of people leaving shortly after he played “Somebody That I Used To Know”. At fifty dollars a ticket, that’s a steep price to see one song, but coinciding with similar reviews from his Coachella performance, it seems that many Gotye show-goers are unaware that Wally’s musical work started long before his collaboration with Kimbra. While this author may have been the only one dancing, it was not due to any lack in talent on the stage. San Franciscans, however- step it up!