Away from the Sprawl: Grouplove at the Red Bull Sound Space

Courtesy of Garrett Marengo
Courtesy of Garrett Marengo

The brutal Culver City heat beat down around an inconspicuous little building known as the Red Bull Sound Space on Aug. 29. Around 70 or so radio contest winners packed in front of a small stage — free Red Bull cans in hand — to watch indie-pop outfit Grouplove perform a free show for Los Angeles alternative station KROQ.

The show began with an interview by KROQ DJ Ted Stryker. After singer and keyboardist Hannah Hooper had a fan propose to her — “Fallback plan,” she told the proposer — Grouplove put on more than could have been expected from a small promotional show. Opening with the clap-happy tune “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” lead singer Christian Zucconi and Hooper were barely contained as they spontaneously jumped, head-banged and danced all around the small stage.

The band then delved into the psychedelic “Borderlines and Aliens” before busting into current keyboard-driven hit, “Ways to Go.”  Another new song, the surf folk-rock tune called “Shark Attack” came next. Though they couldn’t jump around as much because of the intimate size of the venue, the crowd nonetheless bobbed their heads to their hearts’ content, even to the new material. The dancing increased when Grouplove ended the set with the two popular fan favorites, “Tongue Tied” and “Colours.”

Though the set lasted only about 30 minutes, Grouplove still treated the whole experience as if it were a full-blown show and energized the crowd. Because of the energy and pure fun that their music exhibits,  they are definitely a band I would recommend listening to and seeing live for a full show. I also saw them at the Make Music Pasadena Festival in 2012, and the vibes that they gave off at such an intimate venue were multiplied tenfold in a larger setting, to the point of near crowd-explosion (no safety-goggles needed). Grouplove’s new album, entitled “Spreading Rumours,” comes out on Sept. 17.

Watch the set below:

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