Live Review

Gossip, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester: the band’s first UK show in four years hosts a beautiful chaos

8th March 2024

Comfort and self-security underpin the exuberant delivery of the show’s thirteen tracks.

It’s been four years since Gossip last played in the UK, and frontwoman Beth Ditto is desperately trying to hold back the tears. A moment’s glance to the side of the stage sets her off as she explains her connection to the UK in her friendly Southern tone, shouting out her Stoke-on-Trent family in a remarkably successful Midlands accent. It’s one of many anecdotal breaks in a set - played as part of BBC 6Music’s annual festival - that sacrifices several songs in favour of Beth’s personality, one that both her long-time collaborators and newest band members have evidently come to understand.

Beth cuts new track ‘Give It Up For Love’ short, admitting she can’t remember the song’s lyrics. She throws an impromptu rendition of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ into the energetic ‘Real Power’ as the track’s words fail to materialise, and a particularly punchy cover of Yazoo’s ‘Situation’ sees a live collaboration with Alison Moyet restarted as Beth attempts to regain her composure. It’s a mess by all accounts, but a beautiful one. There’s an effervescent mastery in Beth and band’s ability to carry on regardless, in a performance that sits somewhere between a vibrant jam session and an all-out party.

“It’s not about being subversive,” Beth declares with a certain defiant softness as she removes her pink flowing dress part way into recent single ‘Act of God’, “it’s about being comfortable.” Sometime later, standing in her underwear, she explains that “larger people sometimes get hot”. It’s this comfort and self-security that underpins the exuberant delivery of the show’s thirteen tracks, and that ultimately swings the entire performance from a potential shambles to a thrilling celebration. In a moment of pure admiration, Beth quickly dons a black dress for Alison Moyet’s appearance, stripping it off immediately afterwards as fast as it came on.

The balance of respect and confidence plays out throughout the hour, Beth pinpointing the exact moments to dial up her enigmatic ‘fuck it’ attitude. She expresses how the UK has been both lovely and ugly to the band, and in among the unashamed punk attitude that flows throughout the band’s dancefloor ready bangers, she seems genuinely and unequivocally thankful.

It all comes to a head at the very end, as Beth turns to drummer Hannah Blilie to be told they only have one final track left. Surprised, and presumably scrapping a number of prepared songs, Beth faces the audience for a quick quip over what song it may be. The unmistakable opening riff of ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ rings out, and the stage is invaded by a plethora of scantily clad, body-positive, placard wielding guests of all genders, mirroring the track’s early activism against a bill that threatened to end single-sex unions. It’s as beautifully chaotic and as brilliantly poignant as the rest of tonight’s performance, and a crowning moment on an evening that immediately places Gossip right back where they belong.

Gossip, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester Gossip, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

Photos: BBC Radio 6 Music.

Tags: Gossip,

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY