Gorillaz Bring Familiar Characters and New Music to III Points 2017

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The moment I stepped out of the Uber I saw a woman wearing a banana suit.

There would be many other one-piece suits at the III Points festival Friday evening. There were cow costumes, velvet leotards, bare butts and see-through clothes of all kinds. Gliding through the crowds listening to artists like Actress and Thundercat, watching the glitter, booze and conversations flow, it all seemed relatively tame to me. Everyone was waiting.

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Danny Brown drew a large crowd, but it was clear that many festival-goers (including myself) were really just waiting for the Gorillaz to make their Florida debut. By their set-time of 11:30 p.m., the bar lines had thinned dramatically and people were settling in to see the “cartoon” band formed by English musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.

My friends and I settled atop a shipping container and cringed each time someone walked past, causing the roof to warp inward momentarily.

“Helllooooo, helllllooooooooooo, is anyone theeeeerrrreeee???” The sample from the 1985 movie “Day of the Dead” echoed and stretched over the crowd of thousands, as Albarn began the show with “M1 A1,” off the Gorillaz’ first album. People were psyched, and those closest to the stage jumped around to the lyrics (La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-hey).

The band, touring for its newest collaborative album, Humanz, pulled heavily from it. After “Last Living Souls,” a great track from the 2005 album Demon Days, the group jumped into Humanz with “Saturnz Bars.” The sounds were clean and nearly album-perfect all night. An impressive group of backup singers and artist collaborators like Jamie Principle (“Sex Murder Party”) performed with the band. Kali Uchis, who performed just hours before at the festival, sang her part in “She’s My Collar.”

Albarn was a bit sarcastic and not overly talkative with the audience. But he was a lively performer, and he indulged us a bit when he told us that as he was sitting on the balcony of his oceanfront hotel, he was inspired by the “lyrics” flying past him on airplane banners. We should expect upcoming songs to include Puff Daddy and Steve Aoki references. 😉

A scene from the music video for "Stylo," projected on the screen behind the band. Photos and video by Shayna Tanen.
A scene from the music video for “Stylo,” projected on the screen behind the band. Photos and video by Shayna Tanen.

The Gorillaz played only a few old hits. “Clint Eastwood” was much welcomed, and concertgoers couldn’t resist standing up and singing along with Del the Funky Homosapien’s part. Watching the band’s characters, 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Russel Hobbs and Noodle, on the massive screen added some familiarity to a show full of new songs.

Albarn and the Gorillaz ended the evening on a note that made sense, but that left me in slight disbelief. Saying there’s no more plastic beach that he knows of than Miami Beach, Albarn finished the set with “Plastic Beach.” And then the lights turned off, the band left the stage, and we waited. But no encore came, even though the set finished early.

I hopped off the shipping container and walked around the art exhibits at the convention center, then visited the S3ctor 3 stage to watch Madlib.

After all that waiting, I saw the Gorillaz, which I and thousands of others came to do at III Points Friday night.

Then I got back into an Uber and called it a night.


Set List:

  • M1 A1
  • Last Living Souls
  • Saturnz Barz
  • Tomorrow Comes Today
  • Rhinestone Eyes
  • Sleeping Powder
  • Melancholy Hill
  • Busted and Blue
  • El Mañana
  • She’s My Collar (with Kali Uchis)
  • Strobelite (with Peven Everett)
  • Andromeda
  • Sex Murder Party (with Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz)
  • Out of Body (with Kilo Kish, Zebra Katz, and Michelle)
  • Superfast Jellyfish (with Pos of De La Soul)
  • Stylo (with Peven Everett)
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Plastic Beach