Elbow - Capital FM Arena, Nottingham - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Elbow - Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

by Lawrence Poole Rating:9 Release Date:2012-06-18

Any doubt this city hadn’t made (ahem… Elbow) room for the eminently huggable frontman Guy Garvey at a table for our country’s National Treasures was dismissed in fine style tonight. "We love you, Guy!" bellows a wag from somewhere up in the seats, to much mirth yet agreement from the rest of us.

Garvey’s slot as one of the wise old owls in 6Music’s schedule coupled with his frank, yet beguilingly poetic lyrics have given the Bury 40-year-old a real everyman touch, which both sexes have warmed to in their droves ever since he and his band shot to fame with the wedding anthem for the 00s ‘One Day Like This’. And doesn’t he turn it to his advantage in the live auditorium too?

Buoyed by a number one placing for sixth long-player, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, Garvey and co have the near capacity arena crowd in the palm of their hands from the get-go. No mean feat either, considering the sluggish Monday night crowd before them. Backed by a string and brass section, cleverly positioned lighting and moveable screens, the five-piece prove masterly at making this most soulless of venues feel like the kind of intimate backroom the quintet spent 10 years slogging around before breaking big.

An opening salvo of the steady-paced 'Charge' and richly warm 'The Bones of You' feel like base coats for the real splashes of colour, with the new album couplet 'Fly Boy Blue/Lunette' proving even more moving and thought-provoking in the live arena. Garvey’s wry, between song banter (a query about usual Monday night rituals delivers the amusing hobby from one crowd member of Ceroc dancing), belies the soaring yet apparent effortlessness of his vocal delivery, which proves real hairs-on-the-back of the neck stuff during the band's ode to celebrating the passing of friends, ‘The Night Will Always Win’.

Single 'New York Morning' and oldie 'Great Expectations' further showcase the band’s synergy, while a glorious 'Mirrorball' and elegiac 'The Birds' both help maintain the upward trajectory of their performance. Despite an extremely attentive audience, thankfully concerned with living in the moment rather than persistently attempting to shakily document it on camera phones, the gig doesn’t truly take full flight until guitarist Mark Potter and drummer Richard Jupp rip into the Zeppelin-esque chords of 'Grounds for Divorce'.

New album standout 'My Sad Captains' keeps the arena masses on their feet before a stunning encore of the lovely 'Starlings', communal 'Lippy Kids', and rip-roaring 'One Day Like This' (where Garvey implored us to be louder than Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool) brought things to a tumultuous conclusion. The minor quibble of the absence of 'Open Arms' aside, there’s no doubt Elbow deserve their place at the top table. Perhaps the need to play said track has passed, such has been the nation’s eagerness to embrace them already.

Comments (1)

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Really nicely done; I enjoy the little details you noticed and the occasional pun

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