Goldfrapp - Manchester Academy 2 - 25.5.03

Mover over Kylie, there's a new Pop Princess in town to the claim the title and her name is Alison Goldfrapp. Wearing her trademark rub red shoes (very Dorothy from the Wizard Of Oz), stripy black and white socks, short leather skirt, black top and nifty blue cap she looks decadently delicious. Stylish beyond belief Alison puts those young whipper snappers from Girls Aloud in the shade by looking jaw droppingly beautiful. Her musical partner Will Gregory is not present on this tour, but don't worry there are a fine collection of musicians up on stage with the petite but perfectly formed singer.

Despite mixed reviews for their new album, Goldfrapp still managed a top twenty hit with the Moloko-esque "Train". This is the first tour the band have played this year so it'll be interesting if the songs work well in their live environment. Beginning with the opening track of their "Black Cherry" album, "Crystalline Green", Goldfrapp go on to effortlessly glide through their set with the greatest of ease. Their classy debut "Felt Mountain" is thankfully not neglected. We fall in love yet again to the lush orchestral beauty of "Utopia", the mesmerizing "Lovely Head", the hypnotic "Deer Stop" and the jaunty "Human". The new songs which have a lot more reliance on techno, glam, disco and funk have a much greater impact when performed. The sexually ambiguous "Twist" and the devilish deviant "Strict Machine" are fraught with carnal desire and lusty, lyrical lasciviousness. Alison playing up to the part of a teasing temptress to perfection, always on the right side of a cool, calculating ice maiden.

When Goldfrapp play their second encore they launch into their cover of the 1970s classic "I Can Boogie", but with a contemporary edge which could only come from a band this diverse. "Black Cherry", the haunting ballad from the album of the same name is then played with not a dry eye in the house. Then as the band leave, Alison shakes hands with her fans, praising them for coming down and breaking into a rare smile. It's seems it's not only the music that's changed with Goldfrapp.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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