In a lot of ways, Gorillaz are the perfect band for the quarantine era. The members of the band never had to worry about occupying the same physical space, since they’re not actual flesh-and-blood people in the same place. (Scientists say that real gorillas are vulnerable to COVID-19, but fictional cartoon gorillaz are presumably safe.) And last night, Gorillaz showed that they’re fully capable of giving a late-night TV performance even during the time when musicians are sending in their own taped-from-home videos.
Right now, Gorillaz are in the process of putting out a series of singles that they’re calling Song Machine. On “Aries,” the most recent of those tracks, project mastermind Damon Albarn teamed up with legendary Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook and British dance-pop singer Georgia. Last night, Gorillaz were the musical guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and their performance was a different sort of collaboration.
On the show, Albarn sang “Aries” and played piano to a backing track. Albarn was presumably in his home studio, though it looked more like a memorabilia-packed hidden room in a castle. (It looked like the same room where Albarn was when he did his Boiler Room set earlier this week, albeit redecorated.) Albarn was joined by 2-D, the cartoon-only Gorillaz member, who seemed to be joining from his own non-cartoon house. Kimmel said it was the first-ever duet between Albarn and one of the animated Gorillaz. This led to some fun visual gags — like the big where 2-D’s Zoom connection got weak, or where the unexplained half-naked guy, in a towel and a dinosaur mask, did stretches and martial arts in the room behind 2-D. Watch it below.
The Song Machine project is ongoing, and “Aries” is out now on the streaming services.