Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mini Gig Review: Elbow at the iTunes Festival

A colleague of mine interviewed Elbow right at the start of their career, and has stayed in touch with the band over the years. She always makes an effort to see them play when they're in town because, she says, "it feels like my best friend and his band from school made it big."

The thing is, I think everyone shares that sentiment, no matter when they first stumbled across Elbow and their tender, melancholy rock lullabies. No band I've ever seen has the power to transform a room full of strangers into a group of instant friends, then transport every single one of them to a whole other plane simply by singing a bit.

This is all down to the ebullient, self-deprecating, beardy frontman Guy Garvey, who wears his heart on his sleeve - even when, as he illustrated at the Roundhouse last night, he struggles to put his jacket on.

Garvey introduces Puncture Repair with a short, but touching speech about the night that inspired the song: "My heart was broken," he told the audience ('awwww,' the chorused; 'I thank you,' he grinned).

"The only person I knew who would be awake at the time of morning it was, because he had a tiny baby, was our drummer Richard," he continued. "So, I phoned Richard and I said [comedy shaky voice] 'my heart's broken, I don't know what to do,' and he came and got me, drove me back to his house, put his baby in my arms, and made me cups of tea while he listened to me blub. Then a few days later, Craig [Potter] and I wrote this.,,"

It's an intimate moment, but its not the only one. When the band face each other in a tight circle and play Weather To Fly, you get the sense that this slightly gruff, blokey band have found in music the only way to express how much they love each other. And when they turn back to face us for a final, exhilarating blast of One Day Like This (the audience even does the harmonies), it's clear they want to share that feeling with the world. Tears were shed, beers were held aloft, there may even have been cuddles.

It was emotional.

The gig was part of the iTunes Festival - so you can stream all 1hr 44min of it on your PC or Apple gadget thing. Here is the link for your convenience.

High Ideals
The Bones of You
Leaders of the Free World
Grounds for Divorce
The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver
The Night Will Always Win
Puncture Repair
Some Riot
Lippy Kids
Station Approach
Weather to Fly
Open Arms

The Birds
One Day Like This

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