Elbow - Brixton Academy, London
Elbow arrived on the indie music scene at the same time as Doves and Coldplay and with the same level of talent, but have sadly met a disparity when it comes to success. Tonight's show at Brixton Academy is their biggest yet, and they have a loyal fanbase deeply in love with sophomore album Cast Of Thousands tracks Ribcage and Fallen Angel, it's clear that Elbow are more confident songwriters and musicians now they have two albums in their repertoire. When Asleep In The Back's Red follows, backed by mesmerising visuals, it's seems apparent that no filler will creep into tonight's set-list.
It's surprising therefore, that songs such as Coming Second and a raw unnamed instrumental are chosen over new single Not A Job or Presuming Ed (Rest Easy). Still, grumbles aside, the performance is splendid, as you would expect from Elbow. Garvey's vocal delivery is drenched in toneful warmth that immediately transfixes the audience, and bassist Pete Turner provides a strong undercurrent vibe to each of the songs. Obvious highlights are Bitten By The Tailfly, Newborn and the smokey, morning-after hangover I've Got Your Number, which they claim they have never performed live before. They seem to want to treat tonight’s audience.
Garvey claims tonight is slightly intimidating for the band, as there’s “a savage amount of people here”, which causes him to conduct the crowd in a mass-sigh of breath a few times. It’s amusing, but so is Garvey’s submittal when the crowd get edgy that he is filling in with nonsense talk deliberately as guitarist Mark Potter’s capo has broke. Such depreciation honesty isn’t very rock and roll, but is brilliantly endearing.
The token encore brings about the starkly beautiful Switching Off, followed by the entrancing Any Day Now, which is arguably the finest Elbow song to date. Closing finally with the multi-voiced Grace Under Pressure, which sees flocks of balloons and the band members of Alfie make an appearance, Elbow have triumphed once again over adversity and pulled off a fine tour of a dazzling second album.