9/14/14 – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Emerging — no, exploding — out of the bluish fog, Grouplove was greeted with rowdy cheers from the crowd last Sunday. But after an accidentally instrumental “Itchin’ on a Photograph” (the PA was having issues and the vocals were muted), the band retreated offstage.

Surprisingly, they gave the song another try upon their return, fortunately tweaking it to ensure that the crowd was treated to two versions rather than a rerun. Then, with a “Jaws” ditty and the appearance of a plush shark gorging the drummer’s head, Grouplove ripped their way through “Shark Attack.” They alternated between stomping their way through “Hippy Hill” and stepping back into the smoke for the calmer numbers. At times, it felt like listening to the radio with a channel surfer; getting jerked from song to song was a bit tiring.

Vocalist Hannah Hooper covered nearly every inch of the stage: jumping, thrashing, and head-banging her way through screamo-influenced outbursts. But, unlike some acts, she didn’t carry the band’s energy all on her own. The drummer, Ryan Rabin, moved to the front of the stage for a tribal dance, circling the drums and smashing them with blue lightsaber-like drumsticks. Meanwhile, lead singer Christian Zucconi leaped across the stage, his red high-top Converse getting constant air time. Even the screen behind them seemed to be dancing, with trippy images of tree branches fizzing and flashing in time with the music.

In a gutsy move, the band covered Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love.” Although they deserve a nod for giving it a Grouplove twist and for swapping roles (Hooper was the one rapping), the syncopated shouting of the verses just didn’t have the same appeal. As Hooper tried to recreate bits of the sexiness that is Queen Bey’s oceanside routine, the parallels between the cover and Hooper’s outfit materialized. Never mind her slinky black lace leggings, though — it was obvious she was most comfortable in her socks and sneakers.

 

It’s been a while since the indie rock act’s “Tongue Tied” TV debut rocketed the group to popularity, but since then, they’ve proven that they’re no one-hit wonder. They’ve also displayed a growth and maturity beyond Zucconi’s new clean-cut look (although the head-banging sans long hair just wasn’t the same). This was never more apparent than when they paired their track “Bitin’ the Bullet” with gritty, filtered clips from the Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times, connecting two works that share themes of desperation and frustration. They might be singing about their school days, but Grouplove made one thing clear last Sunday: This band has certainly grown up.

Mad Hops: Grouplove
Pros
  • So. Much. Energy.
  • That Charlie Chaplin and "Bitin' The Bullet" match-up
Cons
  • Switching between styles was tiring after a while
  • Proved that Beyoncé is kind of untouchable
8.3Overall Score

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