Saturday, May 24, 2008

"When out of a doorway the tentacles stretch of a song that I know..."

So once I got back home from Portland, it was back to the daily grind…work, TV, and more shows! On Tuesday, April 29th I got to see one of my favorite British bands: Elbow. I love, love, love them!

They were playing at Park West, which is literally 10 minutes from my house, and I got there early enough to get a sweet spot by the stage. Normally I don’t stand in front of the stage, because I don’t think the sound quality is that great and you can’t see the entire stage setup. However, since I went solo to this show I thought it would be less awkward for me. Not that I mind going to shows by myself, but this venue in particular makes it feel weird if you arrive early and are just standing by yourself in the middle of the floor. So by the stage it was!

The opening act were The Watson Twins. Yes, those Watson Twins who backed Jenny Lewis on her album and tour. They have a new album coming out in June called Fire Songs and so most of the stuff they played was from that. I am not as familiar with their music, but from what I heard they are good. I really loved a song called “Fall” and they did a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” I found it odd that for the style of music they play that they would be opening up for Elbow, but hey, it worked.

I was so excited by the time Elbow took the stage. When they all came out they stood in a row all with trumpets in hand to start the first song of their set, “Starlings.” Awesome. After the horn part they went to their respective areas and continued playing the song. In addition to the regular line up they had two ladies with them with violins. It was a great start and I knew this show was gonna be good…and I was right.

They played (from what I can remember) “The Bones of You,” “Mirrorball,” “Grounds for Divorce,” “The Loneliness of a Town Crane Driver,” and “One Day Like This” all from the new album, The Seldom Seen Kid. From Leaders of the Free World they played the title track, “The Stops,” “Great Expectations,” “Forget Myself,” and “Station Approach (first song in the encore). They played less from their first two albums but did get a few songs in. From Cast of Thousands they did “Switching Off” and “Grace Under Pressure” (second song of the encore), and from their first album, Asleep in the Back, “Newborn,” and “Scattered Black and Whites” (last song in the encore). I loved the set list! They pretty much played all of my favorite songs. Well except for “Beats for Two” (see March 21st entry).

The band had great stage presence and Guy Garvey is known for his witty banter. He was very entertaining sharing stories and often times joking with the crowd in a loving way. Several times throughout the first hour of the show he would say, “Tonight is a very special night. Do you want to know why?” And after the crowd would yell yes or cheer, he would say, “We’ll tell you later.” And after building this moment he finally revealed that it was guitarist, Mark Potter’s birthday. Which at that point the entire crowd and band sang “Happy Birthday” and the two ladies who were playing the violins came out with a cake. Guy also informed the crowd that they have started a new tradition that whoever’s birthday it is while on tour, the birthday boy gets to pick most of the set list. Pretty cool.

Guy was also really good about interacting with the crowd and engaging us. Before starting “One Day Like This” he taught us the line “So throw those curtains wide. One day like this a year would see me right” in order to sing along and do grand arm movements while singing it. He also informed us that the phrase “would see me right” is a northern [England] colloquialism meaning “Be okay/alright.” Also during this song he shook people’s hands, and since I was in the front I got the two handed shake and direct eye contact. Who hoo!

Another fun and creative thing Guy did was before they played the last song, but before the encore, he explained that after this song we all knew what was going to happen, but in order for them to come back out for the encore he wanted us to sing a song to get them back out. He then asked the crowd what song we should sing, and made the stipulation that it couldn’t be an Elbow song. After several offers, he really liked the suggestion of The Muppets’ “Mahna Mahna.” He even broke the crowd up and had us practice it. The back of the house starting us off singing the “Mahna Mahna” part and the front of the house singing the “Do do da do do” part. And about a minute after they got off the stage the crowd started singing it. When they came back on the stage, they gave us applause. Too cute!

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this show and will always make the effort to see them live again. In fact after I got home I was so fired up I decided I needed to move to Manchester.


“One Day Like This”

Comments:'ve been doing this for almost two years and i just now found it (thx to erin)...

the dancing banana says it's linky time.

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