Goldfrapp / Great Lake Swimmers Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON September 14

British folktronica group Goldfrapp cast a spell upon hundreds of fans during their performance at the Danforth Music Hall. Opening act the Great Lake Swimmers played a short and sweet set that resonated with rootsy warmth. Considering the quietly subdued nature of Goldfrapp’s latest effort, Seventh Tree, the Swimmers were a fine musical complement, as were the obscure and lovely Pentangle tracks that played between sets.

Backed by a small army of ethereal-looking musicians clad entirely in white (including a harp player and two keytarists), Alison Goldfrapp took centre stage, herself decked out in a Harlequin clown costume. Lady Goldfrapp was in top form throughout the evening; all legs, flying blonde curls and breathy sex. Opening with mellower songs "Paper Bag” and "A&E,” the initial mood was of quiet reverence.

The crowd was practically salivating for something more upbeat, but too much magic all at once is not good for anyone. Goldfrapp know this to be true. The build-up was slow and masterful. Alison’s sublime siren vocals on "Utopia” raised thousands of goosebumps and catapulted things to the next level. Barefoot, she danced and undulated like a small child or sophisticated puppet.

Hair-raising musical highlights included the cheeky cabaret pomp of "Satin Chic,” a surreal march interlude on "Little Bird,” the sorcery of "Cologne Cerrone Houdini” and sunny current single "Caravan Girl.” The frenzied audience flew to their feet during the opening strains of "Ooh La La,” the ice already broken by an adorable and energetic lone dancer who dashed to front row centre and improvised an aerobics routine of sorts during "Number One.” The crowd ate it up, as did Alison: "Don’t go!” she pleaded at the song’s end.

Goldfrapp closed their set with the pulsating "Strict Machine” and readily returned for an encore featuring "Monster Love” and the heartbreaking "Some People.” While some people do bemoan Goldfrapp leaving the sexy disco vibe of Supernature behind them, most who witnessed Seventh Tree songs performed last night will likely forgive the musical curveball thrown. (Full disclosure: I gave it a middling review. But I now realize that it’s a grower and makes much more sense live than it does on disc.)

Due to their theatrical nature and the subtle complexities of their more recent work, Goldfrapp are an act that must be seen and heard in context in order to be fully appreciated.