Alison Goldfrapp encapsulates the zeitgeist of the sexually charged mid-noughties in her mesmerising headline performance at Nozstock Festival.
Standing in a crowded field in the heat of summer, surrounded by the sights and smells of a working farm; this is the last place you’d expect to be transported to a new dimension. Nozstock Festival
, nestled warmly in the underbelly of the Herefordian countryside, last weekend welcomed Bowie’s fellow space adventurers Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory to their Orchard Stage.
Adorned with eye-catching memorabilia, Nozstock’s 20th Anniversary theme of "Nozstalgia" climaxed with an evocative, visceral set from Goldfrapp. Head-to-toe in a shiny blue jumpsuit that glistened in the hazy blue and silver lighting display, Alison opened the final slot of Sunday evening with ‘Zodiac Black’ - a track shrouded in mystery, intrigue and sex appeal. Immediately, she stamped her seal of vocal excellence amid danceable synth hooks and warbling electronic samples.
There was something particularly thrilling about watching Alison float across her stage - seeing an artist so in tune with her own craft, reinvigorating her artistry for a new audience, a new setting and a new era. The days of Goldfrapp’s disco-glam are far from over, but 2018 has seen them take a step further into a labyrinth of ambient dreamscapes, pulling on evocative folktronica and pop through the guise of the weird and the wonky. Onstage, Alison masterfully blended genres and decades together for an all-encompassing dance extravaganza.
She strutted the length of her crowd in a seamless transition between 2003’s 'Train' and 'Ocean’ from her latest album Silver Eye
, released in 2017. The post-firework haze flickered and fluttered in between dancing arms as ‘Ocean’ came to its climax in a blaze of refined synth pop glory. Any Goldfrapp performance is one for the memory bank, but amidst the cooling, country air after a dazzling fire display at Nozstock was something particularly special.
Mid-set her sounds began to layer one-by-one upon themselves, building up to the ending everyone was waiting for. The beauty of the setlist came in Alison’s ability to switch effortlessly between her mid-noughties classics and slow-burning newbies. Not only giving the audience space to breathe in an otherwise mind-melding experience but also giving Alison a chance to diversify her artwork. Another switch-up from Moon in Your Mouth
(2017) and You Never Know
(2005) saw the crowd collectively lose all inhibitions. String-like synths were accompanied by blasts of purple and blue hues which drenched the crowd in a twinkling midnight waterfall.
Depeche Mode-esque ‘Ride a White Horse’ sent Nozstock into a frenzy. Transporting the crowd back through the decades to a sweaty, shimmering 80s disco club where the party never ended. The mature crowd chanted along to the chorus, while the younger generations spun one another into a euphoric frenzy.
A brief pause for thought came in ‘Number 1’ before the stage was set alight by Goldfrapp’s most indicative track ‘Oh La La’. Alison shuffled across the Orchard Stage in her glistening blue glitter boots, red fringe flicking manically across her face, a moment of pure elation. The encore quickly ensued, as the sharp crescendo of ‘Strict Machine’ reverberated throughout the festival site.
Goldfrapp is a seasoned headliner who triumphed in the bucolic Herefordian setting. A visceral, evocative show from start to finish.
Photo credit: Alex Avery