Jennie T
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My Latest Obsession: Elbow


My Latest Obsession - Elbow

My Latest Obsession - Elbow

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)!

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4 Responses to “My Latest Obsession: Elbow”

  1. Jackie says:

    Great post! I only discovered Elbow about two months ago, when my friend played The Birds for me, and since that moment I have been listening to Elbow nearly non-stop (and annoying all my friends and family in the process). Seeing them at Hardly Strictly was mind-blowing…they were so far above and beyond my wildest expectations, such fantastic performers in addition to being great in the studio. I will go out of my way to see them whenever I possibly can.

  2. Christopher says:

    I drove in from Sacramento just to see Elbow, my favorite band, and I was a little disappointed. The sound was incredible; they were able to recreate every sound from the studio and execute the songs to a t, but really everything just sounded like the album. They could have been air-guitaring to the album for all I could tell. Guy was the only one that did anything interested of note in a live setting. The other band members may well have been cardboard cutouts. Still my absolute favorite band and perhaps I need to catch them at the beginning of a tour and not the end, but I think they’re best in the studio.

  3. Jennie T Jennie T says:

    Thanks, Jackie for your post! I’m glad you liked it!

  4. Jennie T Jennie T says:

    Christopher, I know what you mean. The other members did look stiff. I don’t mind them sounding like the album, as it demonstrates that they actually have talent. Hopefully your next experience with them will make up for the disappointment you felt this time around.

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