A blistering live set Live from Kong with an all-star cast + a career spanning setlist.
Charlie Brock
10:33 13th December 2020

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Is there a better band to put on a livestream show? Gorillaz are playing three sets over 48 hours, broadcasting in different time zones across the world from their private studio, and we were privy to the midnight set: a totally enjoyable and uplifting lark-about.

Opening with The Cure’s Robert Smith singing his feature on Song Machine track 'Strange Timez', he looks and sounds the part, his dulcet tones mixing wonderfully with Gorillaz super tight live band. The stream is initially focused on Song Machine tracks, from the album released in October this year. The studio effort is somewhat underwhelming, though the band has really kicked the energy up a notch in the live stream. They perform the show with the same energy required to get the O2 Arena bouncing, combining a number of live features and holograms. The band has done incredibly well to make the non-live features work just as well as the live additions. 

Peter Hook and Georgia make an appearance to perform 'Aries', and Kano drops in to play his part in the track 'Dead Butterflies'. The quality of the musicians involved here, plus the energy of the show gives the stream such a party atmosphere with Damon playing the happy-go-lucky drunk uncle, dad-dancing to his heart’s content. Don't let them distract you from his sheer talent, though: as always, he shines as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. 

A personal highlight is seeing Laurie and Isaac of Slaves reunited among rumours of the band taking an extended break: their Song Machine moment is a collaboration with Slowthai, for the first (and we're inclined to say best) single from the album; it’s performed live with the vigour and sanguine qualities you’d expect. 

Following a dramatic pause, the band kicks into 'Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head', from 2005 album Demon Days. Matt Berry makes an unexpected cameo for the spoken word element of the track and delivers with the gravitas you would expect. Damon then bounces from his keys to a side stage with an acoustic set up, where a smaller band and rhythm section play through tracks from both Demon Days and their self-titled debut, before closing the show with a fantastic version of the Sweetie Irie remix of 'Clint Eastwood'. 

This was such a great live show, combining a wonderful live element with pre-recorded features. This is exactly what we all need at the end of a particularly difficult year and it left us grinning ear to ear. 

Gorillaz played:

Strange Timez (with Robert Smith)
The Valley of the Pagans
The Lost Chord (with Leee John)
Pac-Man
MLS
The Pink Phantom
Opium
Aries (with Peter Hook and Georgia)
Dead Butterflies (with Kano)
Désolé
Momentary Bliss (with slowthai and Slaves)
Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head (with Matt Berry)

Acoustic B-Stage

Last Living Souls
Dracula
Don't Get Lost in Heaven
Demon Days
Clint Eastwood (with Sweetie Irie)  

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Photo: Press