Wed 23 Mar – Elbow, Villagers
Managed to get a ticket on e-Bay the day before the actual gig for £22, after a bit of umm-ing and ahh-ing, got it here on the day (yeah, thanks Royal Mail for doing your job!).
Turned up at CIA (it'll always be that) to hear a string quartet (I believe) being played on the speakers, or so I though, until I actually saw them in the centre of the arena on a pier of sorts! Lovely stuff! Only got to hear 2 tracks of them
Villagers soon appeared on stage, and although they made a great effort and the songs/music was played well, they just didn't have that 'grab' I get to make me feel like letting them into my world of love of music. Not their fault, probably my age; sometimes feel I have/experience all the songs I need, but that won't stop me searching! So yeah, good band in terms of ability, but dunno if they'll take-off (which isn't necessarily a bad thing when pitted against what IS taking-off today).
So, on to Elbow! The band I came to see! :-D Was a sturdy fan from Asleep In The Back, that album has a couple of the greatest songs I've ever heard (notably Any Day Now, Scattered Black & Whites and Coming Second), liked a lot of Cast of Thousands too, Leaders of The Free World is where I started to lose a bit of interest (although I adored Forget Myself at first listen). I think a bit of the fan base in general started to wane, which is why a slight turn in direction came in Seldom Seen Kid in which they had a more accessible sound, in my opinion.
Before the night, I anticipated that the gig will be mostly the new album (Build A Rocket Boys!) with a few older tracks thrown in, but alas I felt let down in that NOTHING from the first two albums were played. :-| I understand they have to promote the new album, but why not early stuff? Even Newborn or Powder Blue would've been welcome, just as a token for the old skool-ers. I did hear a valley-ite not too distant behind me bellowing in his just-decipherable accent, "PLAY FOO-JUH-TUV MO-TULL!!!" a handful of times, which I myself would've loved to hear but begged in my head for him to shut up for embarrassment. :-P There was also a cockney; they get everywhere, right?
All the above aside, Elbow themselves were VERY entertaining (Guy mixing a drink for each of his bandmates, giving one spare to a fan too, picking out the fan in the furthest away seat and asking us to sing his name (Neil Jones, I think) after the 'na-na-na-nan-na-na-na- (HEY JUDE)! if we wanted an encore ("It's a French thing!"), and Guy also leaning over the barrier to allow fans to touch him), I was never bored, enjoyed the new songs and others from SSK, and their stage presence and crowd banter (Mark Potter writing to Jimmy Saville to ask to meet Shakin' Stevens) was friendly and genuine. The crowd too were fantastic, I sure Elbow found them welcoming and humbling. So all in all a great gig, but could've been fan-bloody-tastic if only they played a couple of classics. Is that asking too much? Was I alone in thinking that?
PS. £2.50 for a bottle of Pepsi is ridiculous. I'm glad I brought my hip-flask of whiskey with me! :-D
PPS. Don't Mix Your Drinks! (That would've been welcome to hear too.....)