My nostalgic pilgrimage to one of my favorite music venues in Louisville quickly escalated to an exhilarating night that I won't soon forget.
I didn't know much about GGOOLLD when I scrolled through their concert listing on Zanzabar's website. To be honest, I was going regardless of who was performing that night. It had been over a year since I last photographed a concert in this venue I'm particularly fond of. A trip down memory lane was my motivation. The recently remodeled stage also piqued my interest, I wanted to check out all the upgrades I read about online. So I packed up my camera and began my journey to Louisville. During my short roadtrip I looked up the band on Spotify to familarise myself with their music. I found myself playing "Undercovers" on repeat throughout the entire car ride, it was so catchy! The more I listened, the more I felt the night may be something much more than a simple nostalgic visit to Zanzabar.
Once GGOOLLDD took to the stage, I immediately noticed the literal emphasis on gold for their visual style. Gold sequins, gold chains, golden hair. Even the spotlighting had a slight gold hue. A clever way to connect their outward appearance with their namesake. But looks alone doesn't make a band, good music & performance ability have always been the main ingredients. Thankfully they have been blessed with all three, creating a glitzy electro-pop package that's pleasing to both the ears and the eyes.
I was completely surprised by the commanding stage presence of these newcomers. Margaret Butler, the lead vocalist, displayed such confidence usually seen by seasoned vets with years of experience. Despite the occasional tangled mic cord causing some hiccups, it didn't phase her one damn bit. If anything, it motivated her to raise the stakes with some highly energetic choreography.
From high jumps to fast paced rhythmic movement, she never missed a beat. The band matched her energy with up-tempo electronic melodies that kept the party atmosphere alive, culminating in the most memorable moment of the show; Margaret leaping off the stage to dance with the audience. It definitely takes guts attempting to dance with complete strangers, especially considering some members of the crowd weren't quite as brave to participate in the escapades. Luckily, she was able to hone in on some party people willing to cut loose with her. This level of high stakes improvised interaction is what makes a concert a truly unique and entertaining experience.
After the impromptu dance party concluded, she dashed off in her glowing LED shoes to reunite with her bandmates for the concert's finale. They saved the best for last, performing that catchy tune which mere hours earlier dominated my roadtrip soundtrack: Undercovers. I was wondering if they were going to include it in their setlist that night. With close to two million listens on Spotify, it's clearly their most popular song. Yet, I could sense they were close to wrapping up their gig. For a moment I thought they might exclude it altogether, prioritizing their newest musical creations. Thankfully that wasn't the case. I thoroughly enjoyed watching my newly favorite song of theirs performed live, it was the perfect way to end the show on a high note.
All things considered, I feel fortunate the stars aligned for me to photograph this gem of a band. Any other night visiting Zanzabar my experience could have been vastly different. For the better or worse, who knows? You never know what hidden talent is waiting to be discovered there. Today's obscure alternative bands playing in dive bars could be our next generation's headliners at Bonaroo & Coachella. I will be monitoring the progress of GGOOLLD very closely. If they can keep their momentum going by booking some slightly larger venues and acing each performance, their fan base will surely expand. Only time will tell what's in store for these talented individuals.