Interview: Grouplove say it’s an ‘honour’ to play Manchester at The Ruby Lounge

By Mel Hughes

Grouplove brought giddiness to The Ruby Lounge this weekend, announcing ‘We love Manchester! Love Ryan Giggs. Love the audiences‘.

Their rise on the British music scene has been thanks to consistent radio support from the likes of Geoff Lloyd, Zane Lowe and Fearne Cotton. Since the release of the album Never Trust a Happy Song, the band has taken the next step to stardom and it shows in their live performance.

Since playing at the same venue last year, Grouplove’s entire set of songs and stage presence is more polished and produced but still in keeping with their impromptu and, at times, ramshackle style.

The band kicked off the evening with a bang going straight into Don’t Say Oh Well from their superb self-titled EP getting the crowd in a good mood from the off; as if they expected anything less!

Grouplove are not just a really happy band, they’re like a really happy band on crack! The happiness was relentless as the band played their album out in its entirety as well as some select tracks from their EP.

The band thanked the crowd for coming out on a Sunday evening and bassist Sean Gadd (son of singer/songwriter Steve Gadd of UK band Stray) said: “It’s such a great honour to play in one of the biggest cities in the world when it comes to music. Show us why they call it Madchester!”

“We’re also really glad that the Stone Roses got back together,” chipped in vocalist and keyboard player Hannah Hooper.

Hooper and frontman Christian Zucconi are not the only two in the band to take on the task of lead vocals either, no.

Before the bassist, Gadd, is let loose with the mic, guitarist Andrew Wessen quietly assumes his position as main vocalist for the track Spun, which is actually my favourite track on the album.

It’s a 90mph ride into the American countryside and Wessen’s rough vocals give the song an extra toughness making it the most three-sheets-to-the-wind track on the album as he shouts ‘reason is gone!’ before unleashing a cracking guitar solo upon us.

Gadd, on the other hand, is something of a rapper, despite looking like a country musician, and he takes up the lead vocals on a track called Chloe. He is a man who clearly enjoys the limelight and took the time to introduce the band one by one to rapturous applause before beginning his singing duties.

The band left the stage for a few minutes while the crowd chanted and applauded for more to have their wish fulfilled as the band bounced back onstage to finish the set with their two singles, Tongue Tied and Colours.

Arguably, these are the band’s best songs; they are solid and have received positive feedback from many critics. However, in no way did the set feel lopsided and the quality of tunes was top notch from the start to finish.

Two tracks made it from the EP onto the album, Colours and Naked Kids, and, in an interview before the show, the band said it was difficult to make that decision.

“It was important for us to let the EP stand on its own and put as much new material on the LP as possible. At the same time, we wanted certain songs to get as much exposure as possible. I think we found a good balance,” said drummer Ryan Rabin.

When asked about their influences and style, he said: “We all have very different tastes. I’m sure at some point subconsciously every band we’ve ever listened to has influenced us in some way. I’d describe our sound as sounding like best friends skydiving.

“We love Manchester! Love Ryan Giggs. Love the audiences,” he added.

The LA-based quintet has also performed a BBC Introducing Session for Huw Stephens as well as being playlisted on Xfm Manchester. The band’s previous single Tongue Tied features in the new global Apple iPod Touch TV advert, high praise indeed.

The UK tour will conclude in London on 28th February.

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