Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

London Grammar – Electric Brixton, London 18/10/13

22 October 2013, 13:25 | Written by George O'Brien

At the back-end of 2012 a track appeared online with a deeply emotional, possessive character, that instantly grabbed the attention of those that heard. With nothing more to it than a band name and some slightly atmospheric artwork, ‘Hey Now‘ gradually projected Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman’s London Grammar project into the hearts and minds of those beyond the internet’s bubble. Its cold, bare structure and simple production creating the perfect platform for their most potent weapon; a striking, wholly alluring vocal.

The London-based youngsters have since featured on Disclosure’s number one album Settle, released a fairly immaculate debut of their own in If You Wait and toured across the US, before coming home to headline a sold-out Electric Brixton.

Their appearance at the South London venue is met with an excitable atmosphere, as a healthy dollop of the aforementioned weapon opens proceedings: warm layers of sound reverberate across the dimly lit setting while Reid’s unmistakable tone improvises its way towards the seductive beginnings of “Hey Now”; its chorus is undoubtedly one of their most poignant and powerful, immediately showcasing maturity and subtlety.

It may well be the centre-piece, but the attraction of London Grammar does not rely solely on the voice; “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me” dances along thanks to its twitching djembe rhythm and Rothman’s typically deliberate muted guitar punctuation, while “Metal & Dust”, which plays out as the set-closing highlight, foreshadows what is possible, should their live show be allowed to grow. When multi-instrumentalist Major, penned-in by equipment, punches out the driving Massive Attack-esque beat, above layers of spine-tingling strings, it is crying out for orchestral accompaniment and more regular trips to the real kit. The addition of these could turn this impressive performance into something quite unforgettable.

“Interlude” serves as a touching piece of quiet melancholia to the set, matched by star-like lighting and a respectable hush from the otherwise brimming venue; its stripped-back piano gives another opportunity for vocals to pour out over the enamoured attendance. Brilliant singles “Wasting My Young Years“ and “Strong“ both then provoke singalong receptions. Similarly, covers of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall”, their next single, and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”, which provides a stunning encore the crowd demands, add depth and dimension to the generous set.

They have come a very long way in a less than 12 months and, watching the three on stage in front of the restless crowd, it is a fact you have to remind yourself of. Between songs chatty accounts of life on tour and inter-band statuses momentarily take you away from the passion and intensity of the music, providing a juxtaposing respite.

There is certainly an argument that, thanks to the songs’ ability to transport and engage, more of a mystique could surround them, almost like that of The xx, a band with whom they have regularly been compared. But at this stage it is wonderfully endearing and only serves to emphasise quite how mature-beyond-experience their sound is. Wasting their young years they certainly are not and everything is in place for this talented trio to become an international household name.

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