Could it be? Could Damon Albarn be a leading counter-culture figure for the youth? The Gorillaz and Blur frontman has definitely proved it in the past, and he proved it again on the stage at his and Jamie Hewlett’s festival, Demon Dayz, which was held in Margate, Kent.
Amidst the chaos, Albarn conducted a protest speech to resonate amongst the ecstatic youth: “It’s been a weird week in this country. A real surprise, and then an inevitable, bullshit outcome.” Of course, he was chatting about the United Kingdom’s snap election which was held on the 8th June, where the Labour party (fronted by Jeremy Corbyn) and various other smaller political parties surprisingly usurped Theresa May’s majority. Inevitably forcing her to form a coalition with the Northern Irish fundamentalist, ex-paramilitary Democratic Unionist Party.
“But this is only the beginning, cos there’s some of you out there who weren’t able to vote this time, but next time you’ll be able to vote!” Albarns’ cries for unity were met with gigantic applause and chants from some thousands of people in the arena. Spouts of the infamous chant “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” were evident throughout the ovation – all following melody of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’.
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Nevertheless, Gorillaz’s festival return was a showcase of rebellion, peace and unity. Inside each song, behind each of Jamie Hewlett’s visuals and behind each theatrical showcase, snubs were made to, without sounding like a crackpot conspiracy theorist, those who currently maintain control over the world; from political leaders to bankers.
From Danny Brown to Vince Staples, many who had collaborated with the cartoon quartet throughout their career appeared upon stage. During ‘Stylo’, Gorillaz’s single from their critically acclaimed album, Plastic Beach, murals appeared paying tribute to the recently deceased Bobby Womack – who had featured upon the track. Unfortunately, most of the audience either didn’t seem to care nor have the coordination to recognise what exactly was going on.
They were all simply infatuated. One member of the audience, slightly worse-for-wear, attempted to start a brawl due to the fact Noel Gallagher hadn’t appeared during ‘We got the power’, instead he got Graham Coxon. And for the next fifteen minutes, the individual persisted in shouting: “Four words: Where the fuck’s Noel!?”
In summary, Gorillaz’s headline set at their own festival was triumphant, even if the featured artists of their career hadn’t of shown up, the group would have killed it and then revived it to smash it. And if anything, Demon Dayz was a decisive moment in Gorillaz’s ever evolving and growing career. And amidst the chaos before their show, the group still managed to create a party atmosphere.
Interested in seeing the cartoon act live? Catch them in the UK this coming winter:
27th November | Brighton – The Brighton Centre
29th November | Glasgow – Exhibition Way
1st December | Manchester – Manchester Arena
2nd December | Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena
4th December | London – The O2 Arena
5th December | London – The O2 Arena