In a Joyful Anniversary Show, Grouplove Reminds Us That We Still Can’t Trust a Happy Song
LOS ANGELES, CA- Grouplove cranked their amps a little higher on Friday at the Hollywood Palladium, bringing their best for a joyous show celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song.
The indie-rock record, which has sold more than half a million copies, features the singles “Tongue Tied,” “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” “Lovely Cup” and “Colours” — the hit that has closed nearly every Grouplove concert. Playing the whole album sequentially for this occasion, though, threw their setlist for a loop.
“This is the first show of our entire career where we didn’t end with ‘Colours’ because we played it fourth,” vocalist Hannah Hooper said from a stage adorned with her artwork — giant teeth that each held a letter of the band’s name.
“Colours” retained its show-ending vigour, though. Coincidentally, the album’s four singles all come first in the original track listing and hearing them all stacked at the front of the show ignited a devoted audience. They roared choruses back at the band all night, soaking in the nostalgia and matching the sky-high energy on stage that’s trademark Grouplove.
“This is fun. Who’d have thought this would be fun?” Hooper said with a laugh. “Just 18 months without this. This feels so good — damn. Damn!”
Hearing them perform early cuts that it has since trimmed from its set was a reminder of how inviting that first album is, top to bottom: strong hooks, melodies and harmonies, all delivered in a vibrant, effusive package. Even slower tracks like “Cruel and Beautiful World” soar, and the band’s chemistry is clear.
Grouplove has always known what’s in a name: The band was formed out of immediate friendship. Hooper met guitarist and vocalist Christian Zucconi — who’d later become her husband — in New York City, and she invited him to an artist residency in Greece that she’d be attending later that week. There, they became fast friends with Ryan Rabin, Andrew Wessen and Sean Gadd, who’d become the band’s drummer, guitarist and bassist, respectively.
After Gadd and Rabin left the band, bassist Daniel Gleason and drummer Homola joined. To the crowd’s delight, Rabin and Gadd returned for the second half of the album, where Gadd takes lead vocals on “Chloe.” He pointed out that this was the only time in history where every member of Grouplove, past and present, was on stage together. Friends and parents filled the crowd for the anniversary, too.
“We’ll never forget this — ever,” Zucconi said. “Thank you for making this one of the best fucking shows of our whole career.”
After wrapping Never Trust a Happy Song, the band returned to the stage for a second set spanning the four albums in their post-2011 catalogue, plus an encore. “Ways to Go” was followed by show-closer “Just What You Want,” a collaboration from their most recent album, This is This, with Surfbort’s Dani Miller, who joined them on stage.
Rounding out the night at 22 songs, it seemed like the band and the crowd could go for another hour. There was a T-shirt cannon, a raffle for Hooper’s artwork and a decade of affection for a band that leaves everything on stage — for each other as much as they do for their audience.
“Safety, love and friendship — that’s Grouplove,” Hooper said. “But I still don’t think you can trust a happy song.”Follow Grouplove on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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