So, I’ve been obsessed with Elbow for just about four years now, after one of my friends made me listen to “Grounds for Divorce.” One listen and I was hooked. The voice. The sound. The lyrics.
Haven’t heard of Elbow? I’m sure you’ve heard the masterpiece I just mentioned. Still doesn’t sound familiar? Listen to this clip with the BBC Orchestra. It will bring tears to your eyes and make the hair stand up on your arms and the back of your neck (especially around the 3:13 mark). It’s that good.
Earlier this year, when I was in London, I tried to go see Elbow for the first time…in their native Manchester, no doubt. But, plans didn’t work out, and my hope to see them live were foiled until a good friend of mine told me that they were going to be performing at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. I used to live literally right across the street from GG Park and never once attended the HSB. Bluegrass really isn’t my thing, hardly strictly and free concert or not, but there was NO WAY that I was going to let this opportunity pass me by!
I was not disappointed. Although their set was only one hour long, it was a memorable one, and one that included two violins (LOVED that). They were pitch perfect and clear as a bell, a difficult feat when you’re outside and there are other stages around you. You could hear how each individual instrument was layered into each song, which is something that I really love about this band and it was incredible to hear this magic taking place on-stage. I’ve also developed a bit of a crush on Guy Garvey, as he knows how to work a crowd, in a very endearing way. He was constantly pointing people out, would tell the crowd to do things like “tickle the air (with their fingers)” and if you felt stupid doing that, it was ok. Do it anyways. How can you not love that?!
Their set featured music off their last two albums, Build a Rocket Boys! and The Seldom Seen Kid. Surprisingly, they played two of my favorites off The Seldom Seen Kid, “Bones of You” and “Grounds for Divorce” early in the set, but I rather liked that they didn’t go predictable by playing their most popular hit stateside (Grounds) as their closer. The selections off their new album, “The Birds”, “Lippy Kids” and “Open Arms”, which was especially beautiful with the string accompaniment. They closed the set with “One Day Like This” which was the absolute perfect choice to close the day, as the sun was going down behind Guy and the rest of Elbow.
Do yourself a favor this week and give them a try if they are new to you, or spend some time rediscovering them if you already know who they are.
Until next week (and my next obsession)!
Layout by: Michelle
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