David Goo
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David Goo


Band Rock Funk


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The best kept secret in music


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A Donkey Afternoon - 2005
rightmove.co.uk TV commercial


Feeling a bit camera shy


From a review in Amelia's Magazine, 2009:

Shock Of The Goo.
The David Goo Variety Band, 93 Feet East.

A long time ago, I saw David Goo as a solo artiste for perhaps the fifth time, and wondered “What is you?” I’d never known such a hard-working jobless fella. If i went to a mini-festival, he was there, singing and strumming. An open-mic night, he was hosting it. Every other night I went to, there he was. And always giving it the utmost of his energy, always with the audience in the palm of his hand. His humourous ditties never grew tired or stale. No word ever died on the man’s lips. And it was all from a genuinely off-the wall, wacky headspace. Bizarre ideas floating in a general insanity stew. And still, it always worked, and sounded fresh. Where could all this exuberance be coming from?

And then he started to multiply, and multiply more, much like mogwai. New band members sprang forth, and bopped around a lot, and did whatever David told them to. Bands are, of course, very different territory to the solo gig. Would it work? Can you spread that kind of energy around? Would it not thin? Would the stew not turn to broth? I decided to find out for myself at 93 Feet East last night, while the band still numbers in single figures (Seven, at time of writing).
The magic ingredient in David Goo’s expansion to The David Goo Variety Band is drumkit conductor, Gregory De Carte. Dead sharp and precise, yet also ready to ebb and flow in perfect synchronicity with David’s handiwork. They are one. And crucially, said drummer has just as much energy as his lord and master. Energy he uses to stab gentle verses, birth sudden ska-grooves or reggae-bounces, and push rock-out sections to bursting, explosive climax. The bassist is just as tight with these organic grooves, though less dominant, and leaves himself enough resource to generally dick around and pull faces like the band’s self-appointed goon. Bravo.
Sadly, the sound at 93 was such that most of the time, I could only clearly hear one other band member, Angel De Marco, who is a kind of cross between Bez and the rap guy from Linkin Park. You’re probably thinking that sounds awful, but I should mention a tricky subject for the DGVB: genre.

There’s only one musician I’d feel at ease comparing David Goo to, and that is Frank Zappa. Does humour belong in music? asks Zappa. And Goo replies by singing of the lovelife of a black marketeer who specializes in body parts. And by prophesying that a maggot will become the biggest star in the world. I reckon we can take that as a loud “yes, humour does belong in music”.
Genre-wise, then, let’s start with Comedy, then mention Mr.Goo’s slight flamenco touch, the overall folk flavour, the circussy diversions, the high speed vocals with hip-hop back-up, the yodelly melodies, and the strangely metal feel that often accrues, and the party-party feel that comes from the gang-chants. (pause for breath) Then there’s the upper strata of the band, poking through occasionally. A cellist who provides a klezmer relief in the anthemic Keep On Wishing, hunching over his Yiddish melodies with plenty chutzpah. A pale skinny waif-boy gives it some beginners’ jazz on the sax, then turns to a synth for spots of happy hardcore kids’ TV themes. And they have enlisted the help of Miss Jo Williams (genius in her own right with her rather more earnest songs), here providing a sweet, airy backing vocal, as well as some kitsch dance moves.

So it often comes across as parody music, but really I think that’s just a side effect of Goo’s willingness to sound like woteva for a few bars until he gets bored and decides to sound like woteva else. He just throws it around with an it’s-only-music attitude, and three minutes later, you’ve been to hell, Catalonia, The Wailing Wall, Compton, Shoreditch and back.
And that’s why the audience submits. He tells them they should dance, and they realise that they should, and then they get wild, and silly, and it looks a bit like the hokey-cokey for a second. When I arrived, these people were cool. They are now reduced to Stimpy-mode. Idiotic rapture through obedience. In another world, trust me, David Goo is a cult leader, with thousands of devotees happily sacrificing their daughters and taking part in bloody ceremonies. Luckily, in this world, he has chosen to lead his disciples to the Temple of Rock, and London is much better off for it.
Where Goo fundamentally differs from Zappa is the accessibility. Obviously, nobody is exactly identifying with his lyrical protagonists, but these ludicrous fables are presented with such musical gusto and spirit of fun that you can’t avoid infection. While Zappa left many confused faces in his wake, Goo leaves a trail of happy-clapping converts, grinning like Hare Krishna geeks on MDMA and Jelly Babies.
Obviously, I’m going to have to see them again. For one thing, I shall need to review the twelve band members they will probably have by Autu