Popular trio London Grammar played a sold out gig at The Academy, last Tuesday night.
London Grammars sound comprises of Dot Majors trip-hop style ambient synth and drums, layered across light throbbing guitar lines by Dan Rothman, lead by the stunning vocals of Hannah Reid. Earlier in 2013, the media world was in uproar over the band and finally, last September, they launched their debut album ‘If You Wait’, to chart success.
Support came from Benny Smiles, who worked his magic on the audience, Benny aka Ross Fortune is definitely a unique talent from Dublin and his following is growing rapidly, so be make sure to check his new single out.
Reid stepped out and launched in acappella, taking us on a vocal journey with ‘Hey Now’ while the keys and bass gradually joined in, throbbing next to her voice. Visually they are rather understated; Reid’s striking blonde hair was piled into a high pony, her outfit minimal – forcing you to look past her exterior focusing solely on her vocal. Simple and subtle, the rest of the band are talented like little pockets of loveliness and magic, blown together.
After a long tour, they told us this would be the second last night and they wanted to give us a night to remember, strumming into “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me’. Reid’s vocal drank the night dramatically, while the crowd rocked along with the beat and ended with piercing wolf whistles.
A slow paced atmosphere and an underwater feeling prevailed as they drummed, strummed and vocally massaged away our pains. For ‘Wasting My Young Years’, Reid’s vocal was stunning and crystal clear similar to Florence Welch or Natasha of Bat For Lashes. Afterwards, Major decided to tell us he was so pleased to have his phone connection that he thinks that the Republic is one of his favorite tour locations, to rasping cheers of delight from the crowd.
‘Stay Awake’ followed and Reid said that she sometimes picks her favorite fan from the audience, on this occasion she had at least five. ‘Flickers’ saw Major showing his multi-instrumental streak moving from synth to bongos, conveying some elements of ‘Moby’. To Hannah and Dot’s surprise Dan spoke to us, he said something, so gently we could hardly hear him, which was amusing.
Stand out songs of the night were definitely ‘Nightcall’ and ‘Strong’ which was performed to perfection by the band, if only you could have heard the cheers, singing and whistling from the crowd for this song, it was a magnificent moment and the band seemed completely taken aback by the love they were receiving. Reid of course chose her favorite fan, the gentleman in the purple t-shirt mouthing the words won the t shirt, but it turns out…he was miming the whole time. Ending with ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaak’s, where they put their stamp and edge all over it to the delight of the crowd.
A powerful yet short performance, albeit slightly static, but in fairness London Grammar are only at the very beginning of their journey, so it will be interesting to follow their next direction.
Review by Aine Byrne
In association with Dublinconcerts