Gorillaz make their much-anticipated return to the stage with three LIVENow virtual shows

Beaming into your screens on 12th and 13th December, LIVENow will bring Gorillaz ‘SONG MACHINE' live to audiences around the world.

The virtual quartet will integrate cutting-edge effects from trusted co-creator and designer extraordinaire Jamie Hewlett, to three electrifying audio-visual live performances, simulcast across three different time zones.

"We play three shows, one each in three time zones. You are in Manchester or Miami or Manilla, you can party with us in your time. It will be fun,” says Noodle. “Be ready to be with us. We will play our best for you. Tell your friends and make space for dancing. Maybe a drink too, and some nice lights."

Enigmatic frontman 2D, guitarist Noodle, bassist Murdoc Niccals and drummer Russel will be joined by the man at the helm of it all, Damon Albarn, and the full Gorillaz live band - plus a surprise selection of featured artists, for their first live performance since 2018, only on LIVENow.

The simulcast is Gorillaz’ response to the never-ending ennui of lockdown: “We’re stepping in with an adrenaline shot to the flatlining heart of 2020. In short, I’ve given the nod to our Gorillaz Live Band, who will be putting on an actual, genuine, miraculous LIVE GIG! Streaming to a screen near your face in December,” self-proclaimed leader and bassist Murdoc says.

The live performances distil the revolving ‘Song Machine’ project. Dismantling the album cycle, Gorillaz opted for a series of singles laced with potent socio-political commentary through skits and videos: each song placing the role of collaboration at its core, each song an “individual episode in an 11 episode long ‘season’ of tracks.”

On, ‘Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez’, each song feels self-contained and streamlined, untethered to the constraints of an overarching concept. Brimming with both regional and global talent like Moonchild Sanelly, Fatoumata Diawara, Kano, Slowthai and Skepta, Gorillaz unify a world on fire, projecting an aural vision of a future without borders.

LIVENow recently hosted the much-lauded ‘Dua Lipa: Studio 54’ live stream, paving the way for expansive concerts and shows in the digital realm, converting the kinetic energy of live music to an insular home experience. Passionate about sharing events as they happen, LIVENow gives fans exclusive access to live-streams that can be enjoyed at home and with friends via group viewing option Watch Together.

The ‘Song Machine Live’ broadcast lands ahead of a jaunt to Köln, Berlin next year, followed by a stop-off in Luxembourg before returning to the UK, for a triumphant finale at The O2, London on the 11th of August 2021. You can grab your tickets for the London show here.

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Read the full conversation;

You guys have been working together for over two decades. Have any of you come close to quitting the band and if so why?

Murdoc: Quit?! Do me a favour. Gorillaz are family! Granted, there’s been a few crossed words over the years, multiple punch-ups, several minor lawsuits and one ALLEGED assassination attempt, but that’s all just banter. What doesn’t kill you and all that. Hashtag BMF! (bandmates forever) Amiright?

Noodle: Conflict is the story of life. Metal gets stronger when you hammer it, and so do Gorillaz.

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How many seasons of Song Machine are in the works? Will there be a prequel or a spin-off series?

2D: You can only be in one season at a time, otherwise it would be winter summer autumn and the fall all at once, and life is already well complicated. Let’s talk “Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez” collaborators. Elton John has a reputation for not suffering fools gladly. How did you all get along?

Russel: Why’d you think we kept Murdoc in the background? Nah, truth is, EJ’s a gent, and humble too. He plays that piano like Hendrix on his Fender Strat, or Miles Davis on trumpet. Privilege to witness.

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Do you write each song with the featured artist in mind? 

Russel: Negative. Happens more organically. The music chooses the artist. Once the track becomes something living and real, it kinda speaks out, tells you who to put on it.

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Which Song Machine collaborators were not on your mind but feature on the album?

2D: Only my satsuma. I left it lying about in Kong and it got blasted by an owl with laser eyes when we were recording Momentary Bliss. You can hear a tiny squeal on the track but only if you have hearing like a dog, or are a dog.

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How was lockdown for you guys? Were you in a bubble together?

Murdoc: I don’t do bubbles mate, except in the bath or on the red carpet. Tbh I kept my head down, busied myself with a little project. While you lot were baking muffins and turning out mediocre arts and crafts, I was in the basement building a fully operational Orgone Accumulator. I’ll spare you the science cos you wouldn’t understand, but suffice to say I feel incredible.

Noodle: The whole universe is bubble, do you know? We are here together. So please take care of others. Arigatou gozaimasu.

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It’s been a while since you have performed live, are you excited or a bit scared about your upcoming live shows in December? How are you preparing?

Murdoc: Can’t bloody wait. Cos this has been the year of no-shows, right? Fun officially outlawed, no end in sight. That’s why we’re stepping in with an adrenaline shot to the flatlining heart of 2020. In short, I’ve given the nod to our Gorillaz Live Band, who will be putting on an actual, genuine, miraculous LIVE GIG! Streaming to a screen near your face in December. Be there and be inspired.

Noodle: We play three shows, one each in three time zone. You are in Manchester or Miami or Manilla, you can party with us in your time. It will be fun.

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What can fans expect from the upcoming live performances on LIVENow? Do you have to think differently about your set and performances when fans will be live-streaming this at home?

Murdoc: Anyone who saw Gorillaz on tour for Humanz and The Now Now will know what to expect. It’ll be like that, happening LIVE in front of your eyes, only you’ll be watching remotely, on LIVENow. Expect killer visuals, positive vibrations, special guests and of course that bloke Damon stealing all the limelight, as per. Think of it as an early Christmas pressie. Cos you’ve been good this year, and this year’s been rubbish.

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Are you able to give a hint as to which special guests might appear during the LIVENow show?

Noodle: I can’t say who because people who spoil surprises are the worst. But I can say some of our good friends from Song Machine will be joining the Gorillaz Live Band on stage.

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What advice would you give fans to get into the mood for the LIVENow stream. What should be on their ‘support act’ playlist? What should they order from the bar (aka the fridge)? Should they wear anything special?

Noodle: Be ready to be with us. We will play our best for you. Tell your friends and make space for dancing. Maybe a drink too, and some nice lights.

Murdoc: You can literally watch us from anywhere. On the bog, up a ladder, in a submarine (Wi-Fi enabled). We beam out the magic, you are the party. Just think of that, thousands of little parties around the world, all dancing to the same beat. Brings a tear to my eye. Oh and remember, if you miss it, you’ll never see this Song Machine set performed anywhere else ever again. And that would be a bloody tragedy. So do yourself a favour and don’t miss it, yeah?

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