Gorillaz made a triumphant return to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre last night for their first Canadian show in seven years.
Touring in support of their new album, Humanz (out April 28th via Warner Bros.), masterminds Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett brilliantly brought the vibrant new LP to life.
From fan favourites like “19-2000”, “Tomorrow Comes Today”, and “Clint Eastwood”, to Humanz singles like “We Got The Power”, and “Ascension”, Gorillaz have always sounded modern and fresh, and on this night, they maintained that reputation with help from rappers Little Simz and Vince Staples, among others.
In contrast to previous tours, the cartoon members of Gorillaz (2-D (lead vocals, keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboards) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion), were cast in supporting roles on video screens while Albarn played emcee and circus leader to more than a dozen singers and musicians, some of which proved to be very difficult to hear.
Playing to an audience who likely didn’t experience the 90s Britpop explosion of Blur, the amped-up crowd humbled Albarn. “I don’t know what to say,” Albarn said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”And as the show wrapped up with Demon Days track “Don’t Get Lost In Heaven”, Toronto was the church of Gorillaz and we were all disciples.
Show opener Vince Staples showcased his new album, Big Fish Theory (out June 23rd via ARTium/Blacksmith/Def Jam), as he machine-gunned rhymes and beamed youthful energy on tracks like “Party People”, “Homage”, and 2015 hit “Norf Norf”. Two albums in, Staples has proven himself to be one of the most forward-thinking rappers around right now as he ignores trends and creates a sound that’s all his own. With bangers like “Party People”, to serious tracks like “BagBak”, which examines the anxious mood in the U.S., don’t sleep on Vince Staples when he comes through your city.
1. Ascension (with Vince Staples)
2. Last Living Souls
3. Saturnz Barz
4. Tomorrow Comes Today
6. Rhinestone Eyes
7. Sleeping Powder
8. 19/2000 (with Kilo Kish) (Tour debut; extended ending; first time live since 2010)
9. Sex Murder Party (with Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz)
10. She’s My Collar
11. Busted and Blue
12. El Mañana
13. Strobelite (with Peven Everett)
15. Out of Body (with Kilo Kish and Zebra Katz)
16. Garage Palace (with Little Simz)
17. We Got the Power (with Little Simz)
18. Stylo (with Peven Everett)
19. Kids With Guns
20. Clint Eastwood (with Vince Staples) (and Little Simz)
21. Don’t Get Lost in Heaven
22. Demon Days