We thought that Goldfrapp’s Friday show at Radio City would be an appropriate capper to Fashion Week; an avant-garde Madonna, the British sylph has a model-ish face out of a Victorian daguerreotype, and her disco tracks have been featured in commercials for the Sex and the City movie and a Diet Coke ad where a lady gets an “edgy” haircut. The concert itself, though, also evoked the delirious exhaustion of the week gone by. At times the frizzy-haired diva, slouching in a human-maypole frock, sipping white wine, a harlequin collage swirling on the giant screen behind her, seemed to be (sleepily) hosting an after-after-after-party.
Maybe it was the set list. With her band dressed like the Polyphonic Spree, Goldfrapp performed mostly from her two most recent albums: the sexy, high-sheen dance-pop of 2006’s Supernature, and this year’s Seventh Tree, a gorgeously downbeat, folksy affair that recalls the Carpenters, among others. Mixing up headphone songs and club bangers willy-nilly in a live show has a schizophrenic effect: One minute, we were on our feet dance-vamping to “Ooh La La,” and the next we were craving a scone and someone to cuddle during the pleasantly twee “Clowns.”
Still, unlike, say, Madonna or Kylie, Goldfrapp can actually sing live without the help of a Vocoder or backup, and her voice zigzagged impressively from electro-sultriness to Nick Drake delicacy. And the enthusiastic crowd, not as universally gay as we had stupidly assumed, didn’t seem to mind the vertigo-inducing song selection or Goldfrapp’s detached mood. In fact, when our lady closed out the 100-minute show with the lovely, tea-steeping song “Some People,” we spied two audience members still standing and swaying to a nonexistent techno beat. Feeling generous, we didn’t point and laugh.