In the wake of a mind-boggling election night in DC, the crowd at echo stage was ready for some good tunes and a musical distraction from the political catastrophe that had just occurred the prior night. Opener MUNA was ready to deliver an inspiring, rebellious and energizing performance. The female trio (accompanied by a male bassist and drummer on tour) was exactly what I needed in the wake of the election, and from the beginning on, they were not afraid to voice their thoughts as well, yelling “F*ck Donald Trump” in the middle of their first song to the delight of the audience. The Los Angeles-based band is comprised of three queer women in their early 20s. They think (rightfully so) that there need to be more “badass portrayals of women in popular culture.” MUNA was indeed badass, with their dark pop vibes and blast of feminine energy filling Echostage. MUNA ended their electrifying set with one hell of a lead in: ”One thing we learned from this election is that hatred can be really loud, so we need to work together to make love even louder. This sound is f*cking called loudspeaker, let’s do it.” Do it they did.
Fast forward 30 minutes and the arrival of many eager fans, and Grouplove took the stage. Vocalists Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi had dyed their hair pink and blue respectively, eccentric and stylish as always. The band smashed their way into the set with the immense sound of “I’m With You,” and by their fifth song they had already played their iconic song, “Tongue Tied.” Throughout the show the band emphasized music as a communal tool for healing and overcoming adversity. About halfway through their set, they unplugged their instruments, asked the audience to embrace one another, remarking that “even if you don’t know each other, because tonight we need it. This. Is. Group Love.” The band then played a beautiful and haunting rendition of “Cruel and Beautiful World,” from their first studio album, “Never Trust A Happy Song.” A few songs later, during their performance of Shark Attack, dozens of inflatable sharks were thrown into the crowd and bounced around from corner to corner of the venue. Towards the end of their set, the band crushed with an impressive and (even more) explosive rendition of the Beastie Boys’ classic, “Sabotage.”
The band simply killed their performance. Grouplove has perfected its live performance style, from impeccable lighting techniques, to hilarious stage props and engagement with the crowd, and an incredibly genuine and fulfilling sound, that expands upon their studio recordings, delivering an experience of bliss, love and youthful jubilance and energy. The most impressive moment of the already impressive performance came during “Sabotage,” when Hooper and Zucconi crowd-surfed while singing in unison on corded mics. The band ended their encore with their very first single, “Colours” jetting out confetti into the crowd, remarking that “without music, we got nothin’ so celebrate the music and forget the bullshit.” After the lights came on, The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” came on, a fitting complement to a mind-blowing show. Grouplove is at its best, and on November 9th, Washington DC was graced with their musical blessing.