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  • Elbow - Bristol Colston Hall, 9th April 2008

    11. Apr. 2008, 13:06

    Wed 9 Apr – Elbow

    For me, one of the signs of a good gig is when you come out of it with a whole new appreciation for the band's music. This is exactly what happened for me with Elbow.

    I now hear The Seldom Seen Kid (their latest album) in a new light. The same applies to older songs such as Newborn (from their debut Asleep in the Back).

    As I hoped, the show kicked off with the opener to The Seldom Seen Kid - Starlings - with the stage lighting up with every trumpet blast. This was followed by the second track on The Seldom Seen Kid, The Bones of You. Next up was the only real disapointment of the night for me. As my favourite Elbow track, I was really looking forward to Leaders of the Free World. And although it wasn't a bad performance, it didn't blow me away. That's where the disapointments ended for the night.

    As you'd come to expect after hearing his radio show on BBC 6Music , Garvey himself was a very down to earth, dry, extremely funny person, with excellent in between song banter. Pitting the stalls against the balcony, he generated an excellent atmosphere. The crowd was up for bantering with him, laying up some great responses from him. He was so quick off the mark at times it even left me wondering if they were planted. I highly doubt it though.

    As the night went on, the atmosphere got better. The first big response was for recent single Grounds for Divorce. Given its slow plodding beat, the song has a superb energy about it. It felt like the whole room was encompassed by the sound.

    Lead singer Guy Garvey's voice is sublime, on the night sounding as though it had gone through hours of studio production. He effortlessly belts out song after song. Certain songs, such as set closer One Day Like This come alive when you see the passion put into it by Garvey. The slightly annoying strings rift in the background now takes on new meaning as the song sounds like the soundtrack to the greatest day of your life.

    Other tracks benefiting from the live treatment are Newborn and The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver. The performance of Newborn reminded me of why I first associated Elbow with Pink Floyd. They gradually build the song up, moving from one section to another, eventually culminating in a mind blowing ending (think Mogwai).

    There is no other way to describe the live performance of The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver than magnificent. Garvey explained the story of the song, dryly dedicating it to all those in the audience who works in the heavy construction industry to much laughter. During the song the stage remained entirely green at all times, as the song grew and grew in intensity and emotion.

    Before announcing the final song before the encore, he points out that its obvious that they are going to return, so he'd like to put a twist on it. He asks that we sing a song in return. Amongst the suggestions from the crowd is I've Got a Combine Harvester. He opts for this to much applause and laughter from the crowd.

    The final (final) song of the night is Grace Under Pressure. Perhaps not as great live as it could be, its still extremely powerful.

    I believe I've seen Elbow twice before (both at Glastonbury). On both occasions they didn't exactly set my world on fire. Tonight however, is a different story. I look forward to seeing them again.

    If anyone has the setlist for Weds night, please post a comment. Cheers.