27th October | Colston Hall
As the lights dimmed Colston hall into semi darkness, a rumble of applause worked it’s way up from the crowd standing below. Judging by the volume, you’d never have guessed that the roar came for supporting band, Lo Moon who kicked off the night with their most recent spine tingling release, ‘Thorns’. A dramatic criss cross of lights shone above the stage as a wave of luscious chords and delicately plucked strings led to a much more euphoric chorus.
Lo Moon followed with unreleased track ‘Real Love’ and ‘This Is It’ which gave multi instrumentalist Crisanta Baker and guitarist Sam Steward the freedom to experiment with drawn out synth sections and melodic guitar solo’s. Released back in March, ‘Loveless’ may have been where it all began for Lo Moon but sadly where it all had to end on Friday night. Soft rhythmic shakers and organ chords built gradually till the first verse where the calming voice of Matt Lowell encapsulated everyone once more. Although newcomers to the scene, Lo Moon can already provide a soundtrack to those long drives, hard times and 6am sleepless nights. Their songs contain light and dark in equal measures but nothing can take away their overriding sense of hope.
After a much needed trip to the bar, it was almost time for the main event. The auditorium filled with chatter as people returned to their seats but this time as the lights went dim, the roar that came was unmistakably for stars of the show, London Grammar.
Opening the night with ‘Who I Am’ from their new album Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, the dynamic trio quickly set the standard for the evening as Hannah’s haunting vocals punctured the atmosphere with absolute clarity. ‘Flickers/Help Me Lose My Mind’ was up next followed by the unmistakable ‘Wasting My Younger Years’, triggering that sense of nostalgia.
Continuing the theme, London Grammar took a brief trip down memory lane with ‘Stay Awake’ from their first album ‘If You Wait’, capturing so clearly why they deserve the success they have become so familiar with. Next was ‘Hell to The Liars’ which showed a level of maturity and understanding that could’ve only come from experience. The trio’s remarkable togetherness was apparent as ever as Reid took her place at the piano to provide yet another layer of dream like accompaniment.
As the unmistakable piano riff of ‘Hey Now’ echoed around Colston Hall, the lights in the background made up a magical, purpley blue landscape, but never taking the main focus away from Reid’s vocals. Sights chilling harmonies and cinematic string section had me transfixed whilst ‘Non Believer’ showed a slightly more angsty, synthy sound to London Grammar experimenting with auto tuned style vocals.
The highlight of the night was arguably one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness. From the first note of ‘Rooting for You’, Reid’s faultless voice engulfed Colston Hall in choral beauty, other than her voice the room was silent. I felt tense for Reid as she neared those sonorous, high notes but as she hit them with such ease and conviction, she truly showed her immense talent as a singer.
As the night drawed to a close, Hannah sounded truly grateful as she thanked everyone for coming. “Sing along if you know the lyrics” she pleaded as they broke into penultimate track ‘Strong’. ‘Big Picture’ is perhaps one of their most upbeat, positive songs and certainly a perfect number to ‘end’ on. By the time the last strum of guitar had faded, I was already hungry for more, Reid’s vocals and their hypnotic backing imagery is highly addictive I should warn you…
To everyone’s relief, not long after exiting, London Grammar returned to their positions on stage to kick start their very welcomed encore. ‘Bones of Ribbon’ was followed by the all too relatable ‘Oh Woman Oh Man’ and once again London Grammar succeeded in sending chills around the audience. Not only do they make strikingly beautiful music with their unique sound, they can switch between tenderness and intensity with such ease and fill a room whether they’re performing as one or as three.
Watch the video for ‘Rooting for You’ below.