London Grammar Review

http://versatilegrannyflats.com.au/img_2851/ London Grammar, a burgeoning trip-hop band from the U.K., performed their first show in Texas at Fitzgerald’s on the 17th. The sold-out show most definitely did not disappoint the packed crowd that came to see them.

http://oceanadesigns.net/favicon.ico Their first song was more of a warm-up for the band than anything. Vocalist Hannah Reid began the set with a two and a half minute stream of smooth monosyllabic sounds, moving into lows with soul and breaking into chilling highs with ease. She, more than any other member, carried the sound of London Grammar above the heads of the entranced crowd and gave it deeper meaning.

The opener, Highasakite, did not quite manage the complexity of London Grammar although they had a five piece band and LG has only three members. Still, the overall vein of what they were trying to communicate was similar enough to the main act’s sound-and hauntingly beautiful at times, especially during their last song, “Since Last Wednesday”- that their presence acted as a much hungered-for appetizer to the meat and potato set list London Grammar served up.

Highasakite
Highasakite

London Grammar’s second song, “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me”, really got the crowd amped up. A momentary pause, their next song “Interlude (Live)” returned serenity to the venue.

“Metal & Dust” pulled out all the stops and gave the audience the first glimpse of percussionist and keyboardist Dominic ‘Dot’ Major’s skills with sequencers.

London Grammar during "Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me"
London Grammar during “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me”

Keeping a steady flow of backing melodies and ambient effects, guitarist Dan Rothman proved an accomplished musician as well as Dot and Hannah. He messed up only once- at the beginning of “Sights”. Hitting a note slightly-but noticeably- off, Dan exchanged glances with Dot, smiled, and kept on playing. London Grammar is not yet a very old act (having been active only since 2012) and sometimes, in situations like these, its youth shows. Sometimes, in situations like these, minor mistakes do not really matter to their listeners.

“You’re all really friendly. Definitely so far the friendliest people in America,” Hannah said to the crowd.┬áVery casual and very much appreciated.

During “Flickers” the lights flickered and flashed, which is about the most impressive special effect London Grammar had in their show. But they really did not need all that much. Appreciative of Fitzgerald’s technicians, the band was more about the complex music than the glitz and big-budget visuals common to purely electronic acts.

Other songs in the set list included London Grammar’s cover of “Nightcall”, “Wicked Game”, “Wasting My Young Years”, “Stay Awake”, “Strong”, and “Hey Now”.

London Grammar during "Interlude (Live)"
London Grammar during “Interlude (Live)”

The one problem with London Grammar’s show is not their fault. Hannah’s vocal delivery- though adept and powerful- was crippled in clarity because of the mediocre acoustics Fitzgerald’s has for vocals. It’s unfortunate that her best lyrics came out blurred, but the virtuosity of the band- in all of its mixing, playing, and vivacity- more than made up for the sub-optimal singing output.

And while Fitzgerald’s may be behind newer venues in terms of acoustic design, they outshine the competition by offering a comfortable atmosphere and a wide choice of great acts such as London Grammar, not to mention that all of their shows admit all ages. London Grammar was no exception- drawing an array of ages from teenagers to adults 40 and over. Their fans form a community united by a common interest in a young band that combines pop music themes with trip-hop influences to create something really appealing to a global audience. At the end of the day, that is exactly the kind of music that sells out venues.

 

Nicholas Randall

I play video games, go to concerts, ride my bike, and post what I think about it all on this blog.

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