Issue 11 Contents


The Gorillaz, Monday February 25, 2002, Avalon Ballroom, Boston

I have to admit to being fascinated by the Gorillaz. The idea of a famous band people, playing in a cartoon band, it has possibilities. At least it ain't cock-rock and ya can dance to it more or less. Anyway, this was their first show in the United States so I felt it was necessary for Whatever Magazine to check it out.

Sponsored by Mtv2, and hyped on line and on air it was packed. The balcony was for VIP's only, and I wasn't so I scrunched my way all the way to the front row to try to catch Damon on film. Dan 'the Automator" Nakamura opened the night from the balcony, but only one of his turn tables was working, so he couldn't really show off any more than a remix of 19-2000. He tried, but the fucking thing wouldn't work. He gave up and joined the rest of the real band members behind the screen for the Gorillaz.

There were two screens. The upper half was a real movie screen, the lower a screen was transparent, so you could sorta see the band in silhouette.

Squint at the photo, the one with the yellow on bottom and street movie on top- crooked. You can almost see the mic stand and the hat on Damon behind it. No big thrill, but that was the point, not to be doing the usual superstar band sthick.

One the upper screen they showed Gorillaz cartoons. It was really decent stuff, trippy cartoons with the characters from the band. Before each song a freeze frame with some words popped up, like "Zombies and Painkillers," then the band would play. They did put stuff onto the lower screen, but it was sketches, and stuff with less definition because of the screen.

The cartoons were mesmerizing from the beginning. It was hard to stop watching them. They had "Murdoc," "2D" and the other characters superimposed onto real film, like that road in the photo, and they had trippy cartoons, and happy one, and sad ones, the whole emotional range, and of course a cartoon gorilla, and lots of movement throughout. Nothing truly original in cartoons, but definitely quality cartoons. I guess the original thing is the band of famous people playing behind the screen. I don't mean to dis the cartoons, but it didn't blow my mind. I guess I'm holding a grudge for not having my mind blown.

It’s an art school move, but separating yourself from the audience, and getting them to totally focus on something else, specifically another personality that is famous in its own right, thanks M2, was an interesting experience.

I didn't see lots of ecstasy use, and there weren't a huge amount of club kids either. It was mostly middle America, and mostly white. We knew "Clint Eastwood," and "19-2000," but it wasn't a huge dancefest, even for the hits. Most people stood still and watched cartoons while bobbing their head. As we left most people were like, "it was cool, but kinda strange." When I asked a few if they cared if the famous people were really behind the curtain, nobody seemed to even have thought of them faking it. Lots of them didn't know more than one or two members of the band. I was kinda pissed nobody could remember Tina Weymouth's name, but impressed at how many knew Miho Hatori's.

To make sure that they didn't get accused of faking anything, or was it that they didn't go unrecognized, Damon did do some shout outs to the crowd and mentioned Boston a few times. It was fun, and interesting. I loved the cartoon of the cartoon's checking out their own action figures. I feel like it wasn't a 'concert' per say, but it was an experience. I never got to go to a Truman Capote party, so I guess I'm glad I went to a Gorillaz gig, because they did try to create a real experience for the ticket holder. It was a good environment to eliminate the mosh pit though. There was no crowd surfing goal with no real stage to shoot for.

For some reason though, I really want to own action figures of the band. I got a shirt, but now I want more. Their evil plan is working, beware.