I really don’t know why I didn’t do this last week, and since a few other bloggers have since been to see them, and they share my view that this is very much a band to see live, I feel chagrined into writing up my thoughts about the Elbow gig I attended a couple of weeks ago at the ABC in Glasgow.

Elbow are one of those bands that kind of snuck up on me, I remember hearing some of their second album, including Fugitive Motel, nicked from someone at work and thinking they were OK. Next time I saw them was on TV when they were at Glastonbury a couple of years back, around the time their third album came out… and it was this appearance that prompted me to buy that album.

I’ll happily admit that after the first few lessons I put it to one side but quality refuses to be lost and it was soon back in rotation. The more I listened to it to the more I got from it, and the more I realised that this was a band that could soar along on some glorious melodies and that lyrically they were tantalisingly brilliant. A few choice lines here and there (“and coming home I feel like I, designed these buildings I walked by”) seemed to spark off my surroundings as I used them to buffer my daily commute.

I revisited their second album and found it deeper than I thought, and then ‘discovered’ their first album (I’d been under the presumption that Cast of Thousands was their first album!) and shortly after that they released their current album (which is number 4, do keep up). Then I heard they were touring.

I’ve made public statements that I will not be revisiting the SECC so, frankly, it doesn’t take much to tempt me to a gig elsewhere (which essentially means King Tuts, ABC, Carling Academy or the Barrowlands), so Elbow ticked the list when I heard they were playing at the ABC (a converted cinema).

Not entirely sure what to expect what I witnessed was a stunning gig, which switched easily from rocking tracks, to gloriously heartfelt lump-in-the-throat ballads, interspersed with some witty banter to keep the crowd going and even singing the bass guitarist happy birthday (which I fear is part of the ‘show’!). A few stand out moments include being able to hear the lead singer over the amplified voice from where I was near the back of the hall (might’ve been The Stops? not sure which track), and the confession that the track Mirrorball (on the new album) was actually named “The ABC Glasgow Mirrorball” after the “biggest fuckin Mirrorball I’ve ever seen” which is about 20ft in diameter and hangs from the ceiling in the ABC… “but don’t worry, that’s just between us, everyone else will think it’s just called Mirrorball… but we’ll know the truth!”.

So, a great gig from an excellent band, with a talented yet self-effacing frontman, delivering some well-honed tracks. Can’t ask for much more than that really, can you.


  1. Sarah said:

    Good to see you followed up on your Twitter, Gordon.

    No ‘Happy Birthday’ tonight, so the banter is certainly varied each show (even if it’s just a little – it does feel like he’s naturally responding to the crowd).

    I’d never seen them live before – and the current album is the first I’ve purchased (despite liking their singles) – but I’m in deep after this gig (including being a little bit in love with Mr Guy Garvey).

    They confirmed to a noisy audience member that they’d be playing Glastonbury again this year – set your video/dvd/pvr…

    April 14, 2008
  2. mike said:

    Oh, they were just swooningly wonderful… and the album is my favourite of 2008 thus far. And I DON’T HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT THEM for once! This is BLISS!

    April 14, 2008
  3. SwissToni said:

    brilliant gig at rock city tonight. If I see better this year, then I’ll truly be a happy man.

    As you say, their albums are real slow burners and they simply refuse to go away. I was really pleased at how “Leaders of the Free World” sounded even better tonight than when I saw them touring it two and a bit years ago.

    A great live band in the sense that the songs sound even better here than they do on record, but they are also a very entertaining band… with Garvey knowing just how to respond to a crowd and to get them going like we’re all old friends.



    April 14, 2008
  4. bedshaped said:

    I feel like I’m one of only a few that didn’t get to see them this time around.
    Glad to see you had a great time though.

    April 15, 2008

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