Live Review

London Grammar, Electric Brixton, London

If you thought her voice gave you the chills on the album, just wait until you hear it live.

2013 has been a remarkable year for young trio London Grammar. It was less than a year ago that track ‘Hey Now’ was released online to great reception, and they have since been generating significant buzz – unsurprising, given Hannah Reid’s captivating vocal talent.

Electric Brixton sees the band’s return to the UK after a brief US tour, following the successful release of their debut album ‘If You Wait’ which shot up to no. 2 in the UK charts. The venue gradually fills as initial support act Jaymes Young primes the crowd with strong and melancholic beats. Fryars follows soon after with band in tow, reeling off some soulful numbers that reverberated around a now-packed building.

Opening with ‘Hey Now’, Reid’s impressive voice echoes across the room raising goosebumps that many didn’t even realise they had. Guitarist Dan Rothman and Dot Major on the piano and drums provide a canvas of lush ambience for Reid to imbue with her haunting tones. Flights of swallows projected upon screens behind them hypnotically dip and dance as her voice enraptures a stunned and relatively quiet audience.

They continue with a whole number of tracks from ‘If You Wait’, including a breath-taking performance of ‘Wasting My Young Years’ and their excellent version of Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’ – although on occasion the rippling bass overwhelms the delicate touches of guitar and drum pads. However it’s Reid’s powerful vocals that are the lead instrument being showcased this evening – if you thought her voice gave you the chills on the album, just wait until you hear it live.

They occasionally break to engage the crowd in a bit of light banter, but there’s little if any movement on stage both during and between songs and the two boys remain very quiet indeed. That said, the band still command a presence and delight the crowd with a strong finish comprised of ‘Metal & Dust’ followed by an encore in which they play their cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ with aplomb.

It seems London Grammar are having to find their legs very quickly after their explosion in popularity this year and although they may not be quite sure of themselves yet, their confidence and style will inevitably grow in time to match their extraordinary talent.

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