Fresh from finishing the American leg of their autumn tour, London Grammar kicked off the UK stint at Brighton Concorde 2. It became apparent to all that they were very glad to be back on British soil. Their entire set appeared relaxed and effortless, as if they were performing to a group of friends (in a way this was true as the people stood behind me did not hesitate to remind anyone who would listen that they were ‘friends with the band’. Shut up, no one cares) rather than a headline set on the first night of their UK tour.
London Grammar opened with a rendition of ‘Hey Now’. Vocalist Hannah Reid took this opportunity to showcase her diverse vocal talent by beginning the track a capella and at a slower tempo. This built in intensity until finally the opening piano motif was played and the song returned to the recognisable version. Immediately London Grammar’s talent became clear. Anyone with any doubt as to whether or not this band would translate well live was certainly reassured within the first five minutes. I myself was unsure as to whether or not the band would have much audience interaction; I assumed that due to the mellow nature of the music, they too would share the same sombre attitude… But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
They interspersed anecdotes about their American tour throughout their set; one of the things they noticed most about American crowds was their inability to recognise moments when it was inappropriate to shout out. British crowds, in my opinion, are able to sense moments of quiet in songs that deserve a respectful hush. This same awareness is not the case overseas. Reid explained that during a particularly quiet and reflective moment of a song, a man in the crowd shouted out ‘How’s the Queen?’ ruining the atmosphere.
Another highlight of their set was their performance of ‘Metal & Dust’, the track that initially got London Grammar so much attention. It was at this point that I realised Dot Major was the glue that held the band together. Don’t get me wrong, the other members are extremely talented, but without Dot Major they would be nothing. His multi tasking skills were off the scale, as at one point he had one hand on the keyboard whilst playing the drums with another. He also has a penchant for bongo playing; never in my life have I been so entranced by a man and his bongos.
London Grammar also gave a beautiful rendition of their latest single ‘Nightcall’. Reid explained that at the moment this song was her favourite one to sing, although it changes regularly. Her vocals filled the room completely and transfixed everyone in the audience (apart from one guy in the audience who spilt his entire drink down me because he couldn’t stand up straight. He went on to explain that this was because he had arthritis in his feet and had nothing to do with alcohol consumption. A likely story). It was obvious from this performance that this song was clearly of great emotional value to Reid and I predict will do well as their next single release.
It was clear that London Grammar felt a real connection with Brighton. Dot Major even commented that Brighton was one of the first places to truly give them support and recognition. Their set was tight, captivating and beautiful. This is a band whose music translates perfectly into a live setting. A must see.