Goldfish | Highline Ballroom, NYC| March 26 2015
All of a sudden everyone wants to go to Goldfish… in NYC at least! I’ve been surprised that they haven’t caught on for the past 5 years but that of course is changing.
Attending University in Montreal, I experienced the rise of EDM rather suddenly as “jamtronica” (electronically influenced jam band music), and that was as far as I had gone exploring electronic music. I was certainly hooked on the energetic atmosphere, getting amped each week for the next upcoming show, but I had yet to discover what parts of this large genre were my gravitation. There were some acts that appeared to simply press play. When I think of a live performance, I think of improvisation, experimentation, creativity: elements unique to experiencing music in real time.
After a friend had returned from studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, he couldn’t stop raving about this local band Goldfish and proceeded to put their music on every time we went to a party. It was both extremely danceable and musically complex, a rarity in what I hear on the radio. Everyone likes a good beat but Goldfish truly defines their own genre by combining live instruments, namely bass, sax, keyboards and flute, in a jazzy manner with house beats. I think the heaviness of keys and sax, two instruments I love in their music is a large reason why I am drawn to them. Their music lacks the emptiness that deters me from a lot of EDM.
Perceptions of Pacha, released in 2008, is one of those albums you just click the first track and let play untouched. Each song is unique and great. The album was influenced by their residency experience at the infamous Ibiza club Pacha. I can best describe it as a soulful, magical adventure, but you will have to check it out for yourself. My favorite tracks are the light, breezy “This is How it Goes,” the jazzy “Fort Knox,” and of course the party anthems, “Hold Tight” and “Soundtracks and Comebacks,” each featuring a distinctive, catchy saxophone line.
They were apparently amazing live, but would I ever see them? The group, consisting of Dominic Peters and David Poole, didn’t really come to North America until about a year ago, that is. And since then, they have been blowing up. When they immediately sold out the small venue they were booked at, I knew the secret was out. Each time they come back, they play a larger venue.
The show on Thursday was perfect. The previous time I saw them they booked a double show with Gramatik on a Friday in Times Square so it was inherently a varied crowd. But on Thursday they played at Highline Ballroom, a cool venue catering to varied genres of music but heavy on funk, soul, and jazz. The electronic groups I do see there are in a totally different category from Avicii or Deadmau5; the venue is more attuned to creating an intimate performance than a full on rager. Coupled by the fact it was not a weekend night, the crowd was certainly raging but they were actual fans. I managed to be in the front and still have space to dance. They focused largely on music from their most recent album, Three Second Memory. Though the album is less my style than Perceptions of Pacha, it still has some great tunes. I particularly like the title track “Three Second Memory,” “Choose Your Own Adventure,” “He’s Crazy” and “Washing Over Me.” They mixed in a few throwbacks as well and closed with a classic “Hold Tight,” before coming on with “Get Busy Living,” off their 2010 album Get Busy Living, another song you must check out, as their encore.
Though part of me always fears never being able to see an artist in an intimate setting again as they rise through the charts and into fame, I am truly happy for their success. They deserve it.
WORDS: Whitney Smith