Pure and poignant: London Grammar’s new album release reminded us they still mean business and proved that Truth isn’t the only beautiful thing – their new music is also gorgeous.
Hippodrome Nightclub, Kingston-upon-Thames
21:00, Monday 12th June 2017
After three and a half years since their platinum debut album, If You Wait, it had been a while since London Grammar had performed new songs live. Lead singer Hannah even admitted feeling the nerves rush through her all over again – not that a single ounce of it showed during the flawless performance.
The fairly sizable venue was packed to the brim with fans of all ages eager to hear the trio’s new music, with supporting act Tom Speight warming our ears soulfully beforehand. As the buzz of the crowd intensified Hannah, Dan, and Dom finally took to the stage, welcomed by a cheer of anticipation. Without saying a word Hannah immediately had us in the palm of her hand, demonstrating her unblemished choral range from the silky low notes all the way up to those dreamy falsetto ones. You could hear a pin drop between the powerful acapella vocals as the audience was completely captivated by the opening song, ‘Rooting For You’.
It was my first time seeing London Grammar live and I’ve been waiting patiently for them to release this new album, so my expectations were high. Thankfully, they did not disappoint. Hannah’s voice is just as incredible in person, if not more so, as it is on their recorded tracks. Her angelic tone accompanied by the atmospheric synth and occasional strum of an electric guitar created an intense performance that certainly lived up to the quality of their first album. With a few songs from If You Wait intermittently dropped in, such as the beautifully melodic ‘Nightcall’, the calming yet inspiring ‘Hey Now’, and probably their most popular hit ‘Strong’, they got the crowd moving and singing along with ease. The show was so intense that it brought grown men to tears, which in turn brought my girlfriend to tears, so it was an emotional evening!
The new tunes are undoubtedly as good as the debut album, with the perfect balance of slow, sorrowful songs combined with some real head-bangers, exemplified by the new single, ‘Oh Woman Oh Man’. The brilliant arrangement that the trio had clearly worked so hard to put together had a cathartic effect that portrayed their unadulterated talent; the amalgamation of the Dan’s resonant guitar, Hannah’s stunning vocals, Dom’s trip-hop-esque beats and the sporadic use of some moving chords on the piano created a passionate atmosphere that conveyed the beauty of making music like this.
The best element of London Grammar that came across in this gig though was how down-to-earth they are. Dan said a few words (which he confessed was extremely rare!) of gratitude to everybody that had helped them reach this point, and revealed that they were slightly worried their fans had forgotten them due to the length of time they’d been away – the roar of the crowd proved they definitely had not. Hannah also illustrated their humility by saying she didn’t believe in encores as it’s never really a surprise, especially not for the people at the front who can read the set list! This all culminated in a very personal performance that was in no way pretentious, symbolic of their pure, enchanting, authentic music.
The band finished with ‘Metal & Dust’, their first ever EP – a tribute to how far they have come. The steady build-up of energy throughout the song and the dramatic climax characterised their rise to fame and the pace at which they will keep on growing as an artistic force, with Truth Is a Beautiful Thing reinforcing their presence in the UK’s music scene by storming its way to number one in the charts – and rightfully so.
– Review and image by Will Thompson