You Tube Live: Gotye shocks JTV “The Only Way” he can

on October 06, 2009, 5:00pm

Gotye is 29-year-old Belgian-born, Australia-based singer-songwriter Wally De Backer. With his 2004 underground debut Boardface, he garnered a cult following Down Under. That following grew even larger with 2006’s Like Drawing Blood. De Backer said the album title grew out of the arduous two-year recording process that produced it; but fans flocked to the eclectic collection, which featured everything from Phil Spector homages (“Learnalilgivinanlovin”), blissed out dub (“Puzzle With a Piece Missing”) and ethereal balladry (“Hearts a Mess”).

As fans clamored for him to take his suddenly popular album on the road, de Backer faced a significant problem. Having created almost every sound on the album himself, he now had to find a way to take the songs on the road. This performance (filmed for Australia’s JTV) of one of the album’s standout tracks, “The Only Way,” shows the artist –- backed by a stellar band –- easily rising to the challenge.

1025119374 cc9e6c3862 You Tube Live: Gotye shocks JTV “The Only Way” he canThe agile horn section begins the proceedings with a wraith-like saxophone figure, before de Backer and the rest of the band join in with the hypnotic percussion that is at the heart of the song. Perched behind an elaborate drum kit, De backer seems unassuming, as his backing band plays energetically. In fact the band almost steals the show, their deftly executed hand claps bringing a propulsive heft to the song. The insistent beat demands hip shaking and the camera shows the giddy audience happily obliging.

In the studio version of the album, De Backer used a variety of sonic elements, including double tracked vocals, to create an appealing musical mélange. In this live setting, he recreates the feel of that sound, with only minimal help from backing tracks. And his voice proves as nimble and appealing live as it is on record.

The real showcase for De Backer comes at the 4:34 mark, where he launches into a kinetic 45-second drum solo. The song continues to build momentum before climaxing in a thrilling crescendo of handclaps, chants and percussion.

Following the tour for Like Drawing Blood, De Backer released an album of remixes called Mixed Blood. Of late, though, he’s been largely mum on whether he’s recording new material. But if this performance is any indication, the lad needs to get back into the studio post-haste.