We are, it may be an understatement to say, pretty big fans of British comedian, actor, and musician Matt Berry. Whether he’s delivering the wildest line reads imaginable on What We Do In The Shadows, appearing on comedy classics like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace or Toast Of London, or, honestly, just reading the phone book, Berry has the ability to make almost anything sound cool. And when he’s backed by British animated band Gorillaz, and reading a part originally performed by Dennis Hopper? It’s pretty much guaranteed.
That’s exactly what happened on Thursday night in Toronto this week, as the touring members of the band reportedly brought Berry out on stage, robe-bedecked, for a rendition of their 2005 song “Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head.” A spoken word parable about a village of “Happyfolk” destroyed by the greed of others, the song originally appeared on Demon Days, where it was performed by Dennis Hopper. (Who would also occasionally show up on tour to recite its passages with the band, before his death in 2010.) When Gorillaz put the song back into their rotation for 2020 streaming series Song Machine Live, they tapped Berry to sub in for Hopper, giving his own rich baritone spin on the story.
Thus, the deeply enviable moment when a bunch of Canadian Gorillaz fans got to watch Berry—presumably in town because Toronto is where What We Do In The Shadows films—confidently strut out onto the stage and start regaling them with tales of the Happyfolk, in that way that pretty much only he can. (Including moments of shocking restraint; we can’t imagine how hard it was for Berry not to toss even more English on the line “The Strangefolk entered the caves to find jewels…and Bat!s”)