Nottingham’s London Grammar play their biggest headline performance to date. As vocalist Hanna Reid’s voice echoes with a recorded message in the cavernous venue, detailing how every one of us has been lonely in our life, at one time or another, the band emerge, while dramatic strings play in the background.
Reid, like her band members, is on full form, as she takes the stage on bass guitar for the first titular single taken from their latest record, Californian Soil, with Dan Rothman on lead rhythm guitar and Dominic Major on the drums. Through most of the set, Reid and co are recorded on screen, amid stunning visuals. Hit single Hey Now, from platinum selling debut If You Wait, is ethereal and beautiful in its simplicity, Reid’s vocals delicate and intoxicating. With Lord It’s a Feeling, the singer’s profile is emblazoned in white on the back screen; it’s a highlight with its emotional chorus, the audience feeling the words and singing along.
The first single from Californian Soil sees the trio revel in an incredible electronic outro on I Need the Night, clear proof London Grammar can turn up the heat on their live performances. The amped-up vibes continue with How Does It Feel, a melancholic but paradoxical feel-good romper, and one that pumps up the fans; this is London Grammar on dance territory, and it’s fitting, accompanied by gorgeous multi-coloured lighting and visuals akin to an Apple advertisement. Following in a similar vein, Baby It’s You gets the crowd clapping, the energy rising with every track. The band traverse to a quieter mode with Big Picture and Hell to the Liars, both featured on their second album, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing. Reid sits on the edge of the stage, slow ripples of water reflected on screen, the song recalling a unified Pollock painting.
The depth in Wasting My Young Years is kept alive, and the same can be said of the goosebump-inducing Metal and Dust, though for some reason the band decide to play a much shorter version. This is a theme that could describe the rest of the night’s set, which is much too brief.
The group take the good vibes even farther up a notch, and end with a rave that includes Bones of a Ribbon, and one of the best laser light shows seen in a gig, ending on a high with the CamelPhat remix of Lose Your Head – just what the audience needed. If only it was a little longer.