Goo Goo Dolls @ Brixton Academy, Brixton, London
June 4th 2006
For this monumental occasion of a Goo Goo Dolls UK date I had rather different company than usual. Out was the too cool for school Mr Flowers and more than worth replacements of Chris Oh! and John. Getting there and back wasn’t as bad as expected from lil ol’ Canterbury, trains running ok and a cheeky pint kicked off the evening. After queuing round the entire block and down the high street we got in and took up positions downstairs, with it being an old theatre/cinema the sloping was great and anyone more than a 2 foot in front descended out of view, cracking.
First up were the non-inspiring Producers from Ireland. Plodding indie in the vein of Interpol with no real driving bass or inventive guitar got very samey after 2 or 3 tracks. One or two tracks stood out but nothing which really justified my arise from the comfortable lazing position on the floor. Still much better was to come.
The Goo Goo Dolls strolled onto to meet a deafening scream from the London crowd, seems the exile from the UK has only served to bait fans even more. Screams aimed mostly in the direction of lead singer “Johnny Rzeznik”, turned to roars pretty quick as they struck the first chords of “Stay With you” a guaranteed single from the new album “Let Love In”.
This was to be the order of the night, plugging the new release which I felt was their weakest to date. Still this taken into account you don’t realise just how damn catchy these tunes are till their blasted out live through a wall of speakers. Then you realise you actually know every lyric and are singing them like a obsessed fool (of which I don’t think I am, hehe). Songs such as title track “Let Love In”, “Feel The Silence” and the Supertramp cover “Give A Little Bit” classic examples of this. Not to disappoint mainstream pop fans the expected classics emerged with “Black Balloon”, “Name”, “Slide”, “Iris” and “Broadway” and disappointingly no “Sympathy”, “Acoustic 3#” or “Two Days in February”. Yet where this gig excelled for me was the part of Bassist Robbie Takac. His distinctive punk voice and roots shined clear here and added an air of fun and ballsy rock which is somewhat subdued in the loved up pop classics. Surprisingly Robbie tracks were aplenty with the superb double whammy of “Smash” and “Tucked Away” from the “Gutterflower” album, followed with older gems like “Burning Up” and “January Friend”, not forgetting the great track “Listen” from the New Release.
This was a gig which would not have been out of place in a much bigger arena which im sure they are accustom to in their homeland, the tracks where so big and grand the smallish academy seems to be filled to bursting with this great and accomplished band. Not forgetting I felt that people sitting back in the pub down the road would be able to hear the epic choruses and crowd exhilaration. I love this band and this has only wetted my appetite for more from this buffalo trio. They seem so at ease on stage and on a number of occasions crowd interactions raised many a laughs. Quote from John “We were on Top Of The Pops Today”, “It was great, we waited around for 6 hours to pretend to play our song”, “So you know, I started to Fuck around, mess about…” Classic! So all round a fantastic performance and I’m really hopeful for a return to the UK in the next decade or so.
Movies to follow shortly!!