After two hot & sweaty weekends on the main stage at Coachella, MS MR and Grouplove brought their Spreading Rumours tour to The Glasshouse —- an amazing venue tucked away just outside of LA’s “splashzone” in the sleepy college town of Pomona. I had seen both artists perform at Coachella (Weekend 1, duh)—and I was thirsty for this intimate, personal performance from both artists.
As the chilling chords of “Bones” rang out, the shadowy romantics MS MR took the stage under low red light. Their presence is astounding—-immediately commanding the space and building a rich wall of sound. This NYC-based dark-pop duo has been gaining momentum over the past year since the release of their first EP Candy Bar Creep Show. Both sing-able and relatable, their melancholy anthems of love and anger are impossible to shake. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve belted out these songs in my car during moments of triumph/despair/fury thinking “Man, MS MR just gets me”.
On stage, the ethereal blend of drums, guitar and synth emulates the vibe of Phantogram but drives with the intensity of Kavinsky. The wild card of this equation is the lead singer, Lizzy Plapinger aka MS. Neon-pink hair is only mildly indicative of the fire this woman possesses—every second of her #flawless performance was pure electricity. Her voice is rich like Florence, but sultry like Lana—but Plapinger is easily carving out a spot all her own in the world of Girl Power.
But a MS is nothing without her MR! The ever-so-stylish Max Heshenow held down the synth and vocal harmonies for his Queen like a true gentlemen (Sorry, ladies. He’s gay. They all are.) Brimming with excitement and humility, the dynamic between these two on stage is infectious—it is very clear to me that they are soul mates. This show left me wanting to gather up all of my gay besties and start an indie-pop band too.
The duo brought most of ‘Secondhand Rapture’ to life with brilliant force and threw in several tactful covers to boot (‘Do I Wanna Know’ by Arctic Monkeys & ‘Dance Yrslf Clean’ by LCS Soundsystem). Without question, my favorite moment was the deliciously spiteful sing-a-long to “Think of You” that I shared with 800 of my newest friends.
As the lights when down to announce the arrival of Grouplove, the crowd went absolutely wild. Not to be outdone, an EXPLOSION of light and sound rings out in response. Ryan Rabin appears on drums and they detonate a brilliant “remix” of A$AP Rocky’s ‘Wild for the Night’. The rest of the band catapulted on stage and raged along with the crowd before taking their places. So unexpected and awesome, it was the perfect way to get the crowd turnt all the way up to the right temperature.
Right off the bat, I have never been so overwhelmed by the energy of a band. They came in hot and they just got hotter (and it was seriously so damn hot in there. No matter, sweaty is sexy!) Before the show, I was familiar with the poppy, melodic radio-hits from these West Coast darlings but I was unprepared for just how hard they can rock. Searing guitar solos and frenzied, skillful drumming took this performance to the next level.
True masters of dynamic, they mixed well-known anthems like “Tongue Tied” with older, treasured songs like “Naked Kids”. Even their more mellow songs like “Gold Coast” seemed to crackle and spark with energy. They brought a fresh, unique energy to Beyoncé’s ‘Drunk In Luv’—which totally weirded me out at Coachella (not Grouplove’s fault) but translated brilliantly at The Glasshouse. They ended the evening with the 1-2 punch of “Ways To Go” and the iconic “Colours”.
This was one of the most intensely positive shows I’ve seen in awhile. Although it had been over 2 ½ sweaty and rigorous hours on a Tuesday evening, I felt uplifted and awake as I walked out the door into the quiet streets. I’ll be catching these guys again in August at Outside Lands, but check out their tour schedule here (http://www.grouplovemusic.com/tour) to see when they’re headed your way and grab tickets.