Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

Elbow – Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh 18/11/05

Filed under: Live Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 5:32 pm

Converted churches always strike me as an odd place for holding gigs. The vast consumption of alcoholic beverages and the huge banner displaying the name “Elbow” hanging above the stage promoting what many would describe as
false idols does seem very out of place in a room still full of pews and a
sublimely decorated balcony. However, after a gig this good, a place of
worship does seem the only fitting place.

It’s a testament to the quality and intelligence of Elbow’s music that
they can attract such a diverse crowd. There are the cool, young indie
kids, the old guys with beers, the 30 something couples and even a few
parents with their children.

The band enter to a rapturous applause, the crowd already lifted by a
wonderful performance by Danish band Mew. They really don’t look like
your typical up and coming rock band, with beards and flat caps adorned by
many members, and Guy Garvey’s cane confirms this view. However, it turns
out the cane is not just aesthetic. In one of his many humorous rapports
with the audience it’s explained he damaged his foot in a game of “tramp
kicking” and his, unfortunately, was frozen. This witty banter with the
crowd continues throughout, establishing a strong relationship between
band and fans, and keeping up Elbow’s reputation as a band with a sense of
humour (they’ve done a folk version of “Independent Women”)

Musically, they are faultless. “Station Approach” is a perfect start to a
gig as anyone could hope for, and only Elbow could go from a song as
immaculate as that to the massive rock crowd pleaser of “Fallen Angel”.

Though they have a new album to promote, Elbow don’t disappoint the fans
and play all the old classics. “Red” and “Fugitive Motel” both delight,
and the biggest cheer of the night is heard after Guy’s angelic voice
sings the opening “I’ll be the corpse in your bath tub” of the tragically
beautiful “Newborn”.

The encore quartet sees Elbow at their very best. Piano led ballads
“Puncture Repair” and “Powder Blue” could have been performed by angels
themselves and one of the singles of the year, “Forget Myself”, gets
everyone moving. But it’s final song, “Grace Under Pressure” that is the
real highlight of the night. Before it Guy suggests that anyone who
doesn’t sing along hasn’t got a soul, and never a truer, more profound
word has been spoken in a church. Anyone who didn’t find themselves
singing “We still believe in love, so fuck you” at the top of their lungs
really was dead inside.

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