The year 2010 has been a massive year for Groove Armada. They released their sixth studio album Black Light to great acclaim and followed up with an explosive string of concerts and festival appearances across Europe, America, and Australia. Groove Armada have finally come into their own and what do they do? They announce that they are retiring and that the current tour will be their last as a live band. It is no surprise then that we made our way to the O2 Brixton Academy in London to see their penultimate performance with mixed feelings of sadness and excitement.
We took our seats upstairs in the circle balcony and it was all really nice as we listened to a DJ duo churn out a set of pleasant but down-tempo house tunes. It all sounded rather ‘cocktail hour’ and I wondered for a moment if I was in the right place. Any doubts I may have had were erased when support act Retro/Grade hit the stage. They launched straight into a manic hour of banging techno tracks that soon had the audience whooping and cheering and definitely set the tone for the evening to come. Retro/Grade describe their sound as falling into that space between disco and house music and they have done a great job of modernising the early Italo disco sound.
After reaching such a frenzied state with Retro/Grade, the wait for Groove Armada to come to stage was almost excruciating but eventually Tom Findlay, Andy Cato, and SaintSaviour bounded onto the stage and launched straight into “Look Me in the Eye Sister” and “I Won’t Kneel”. The effect was incredible. SaintSaviour’s vocals are more impressive and powerful live than I could ever have imagined and it was thrilling to hear them start the evening with two of my favourite songs from the new album.