Monday, 16 June 2008

In Concert: Elbow

The number of people in advance of Saturday's concert, when talking to them, had no idea who Elbow were. And, in all honestly, I've only really heard of them in the past 6 months - and started to like the music within the past couple. It's a problem - they've been recording albums (under that name) since 1997 - but of the four albums released none have really had mass appeal (despite all being top 5 in the charts). I suppose it makes them more of a niche band - and yet there was still an almost sell-out crowd in Delamere Forest.

Support came from I am Kloot, who are a band I'd never actually heard of. Unfortunately, I'm afraid to say, I don't really think I'd missed much. They basically had a two part set - starting with a heavy rocky sound; finishing with a smoother acoustic selection. Regular readers will know, I'm not a fan of "rock", so whilst the opening was a lot more entertaining than with Noah and the Whale from the previous night, it really wasn't my cup of tea. Some of the slower numbers were fairly pleasing - but by that stage I had decided I didn't like them. Perhaps less of a split would have been a better result, either way, I was left really looking forward to Guy Garvey even more.

But that was then I discovered the problem with Elbow being a niche band. I hardly knew any of the songs. Grounds for Divorce was enthralling, and finishing with main set with an extended version of One Day like this (which is still my favourite track available at this precise moment in time) was nothing short of awe inspiring.

It was incontestable that Elbow are an exceptional live band. All of the songs were passionate, Guy Garvey engaged the audience to ensure that everyone had a good time. By performing the songs I didn't know, I loved them even more. Station Approach is one that really got the crowd going.

But, there was a problem. Most (if not all) of Elbow's songs are quite heavy. There's nothing with vigor, nothing with "get up and go". Whilst I still say that every single song was very impressive, 90 minutes of it (including encore) did end up being a bit too much. Short bursts are brilliant, such a long set I'm not too sure.

That said, it really did suit the venue. The Weather Gods were smiling, leaving us with a crisp, clear, cloudless night - with a beaming white moon shining over the venue. It proved that Delamere is an exceptional venue for gigs, and long may these concerts continue.

And there is one further important mention to make - the guest performance of Richard Hawley (two for the price of one) for The Fix - the track Hawley both co-wrote and appeared on the latest album with. An exceptional talent of his own, adding him to the performance sealed the deal.

The beauty of the youtube generation is that there's almost certainly to be at least one person who recorded part of the gig. So, as the parting video, and as it was only nominated as a TOTW, here's Grounds for Divorce:

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