London Grammar @ O2 Academy Brixton 4th June 2014

The three piece band London Grammar consist of Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dominic ‘Dot’ Major and the style of music that they play is indie pop. I have been wanting to see them for a while. Judging from the set which was performed I am kicking myself that I didn’t attend the instore at Rough Trade East when the début LP If You Wait was released.

With only one album to their name this wasn’t going to be an extensive set. What was performed were 13 tracks these being the whole album If You Wait, the Disclosure tune that they featured on plus Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me which features on the deluxe edition of the CD. It had just gone 9.30pm when the set kicked off and I was rather exited because they are one incredible band. Everything went dark and then you had Dan on guitar and Dominic on sytnhs. The moment Hannah Reid graced the stage for Hey Now the whole of Brixton Academy erupted into cheers. With this being the first time I had witnessed London Grammar I was left both spell bound and speechless. Reid’s high pitched warbling was simply spine tingling. I could see shades of Florence Welch and with the usage of synths I could see shades of The xx. Back to the vocals, this tune (despite the shortage of lyrics) showcased Hannah Reid’s marvellous and powerful vocal range. Straight after it was onto Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me now this appears on the deluxe version of If You Wait plus it also appeared on the digital EP Metal & Dust. Now this was a slow burning track. Hannah’s vocal delivery was spotless, you then had Dan on guitar and Dominic was playing the djembe. Even though the pace was rather steady I found this to be slightly infectious. After it was then onto Interlude. With interludes you think of it just being music being played instead of words. However this was not the case. Interlude was in fact a song and extremely beautiful as Hannah Reid played the piano and the fact there was a string section once the curtain rose made this song rather magical.

“Thank you so much for coming down. It’s amazing to play in this place. My favourite venue in the whole world” Rothman said before they went into Flickers. Now this number was extraordinary. The vocals were strong plus the harmonising was spot on. This has to be one of my favourites from the album and just hearing it live didn’t disappoint. “Thank you so much for being with us tonight” Hannah then said before they launched into Help Me Lose My Mind which is a Disclosure track which they featured on. I found this to be a complete cracker and it was packed with a punch. “It’s unbelievable what’s happened to us in one year. We’re just 3 best friends in a room at University and we never thought this would ever happen at all. It makes me quite emotional talking about it. At the end of the day without our fans this would never be possible” Major said before the next number and this being Wasting My Young Years. Now this was a right spectacle. Again you had the strings which appeared during Interlude. This made it on a whole really magical and Reid’s vocals were enough to make my spine tingle. Wasting My Young Years went down a treat with the sold out Brixton Academy plus it had an anthem feel to it. Seeing London Grammar live is a lot different to hearing them on record. When Hannah sings she delivers it with plenty of gusto. This was the case with Shyer which had to be one of my favourites that I heard this evening. Whilst it was delivered at a steady pace, the lyrics were contagious plus Reid’s vocals were like a soprano (Actually Hannah’s vocal delivery reminded me of Catherine Pockson from Alpines). It was then onto Sights which is the forthcoming single from the band. Now this number was soothing but in all honesty it failed to strike a chord with me as there was nothing that got me hooked. Yes the vocals were extraordinary but that was it. Maybe Sights is a tune which needs time to grow on you. Straight after it was onto Stay Awake which took almost a minute until Hannah Reid came in with the vocals. Still this minute interlude showed of some impressive guitar playing. I found this to be both beautiful and chilled out. Once over it was time to play the only cover song off the album and this was by a French artist called Kavinsky. The song being Nightcall which they heard in a film called Drive. I must say the London Grammar take on this was phenomenal and I was left entrance from its beginning till its very end. “This next song is our last song. Please sing along” Hannah Reid mentioned before they closed the night with Strong. As expected everyone sang along making this a fan favourite. London Grammar had definitely saved the best till last. Strong was super catchy and had been perfectly written by all three of them. Also this was an dreamy track which was faultlessly delivered. Once over the band left the stage only to return with the much expected encore.

“It is quite extraordinary to think where we were a year ago and we’ve sold out a venue this size for 2 nights running. It’s just amazing. We couldn’t thank you enough” Hannah Reid humbly said to the crowd before kicking off the encore with the title track from the album and this being If You Wait. Just like Interlude, Hannah was on the grand piano for this whimsical tune. Also the string section was fully utilised during this spell binding tune. If You Wait was ever so beautiful and soothing at the same time. Things were then rounded off with the début release and this being Metal & Dust. Plus it was rather special as Nick Mulvey also performed with London Grammar during this performance of this tune. I must say I simply adored this indie pop number which had added dance elements. All in all Metal & Dust brought to a close what had been one extraordinary evening.

SET LIST

Hey Now
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me
Interlude
Flickers
Help Me Lose My Mind
Wasting My Young Years
Shyer
Sights
Stay Awake
Nightcall
Strong

ENCORE

If You Wait
Metal & Dust

OVERALL: This was one outstanding evening. Hannah Reid’s vocals were spine tingling and the use of a string section was simply magical. I am actually kicking myself I wasn’t at the Rough Trade show when the album came out.

Each number performed was sheer perfection and it was a nice addition with Nick Mulvey whom appeared on guitar for Metal & Dust (he also delivered an extraordinary set showcasing his own material. Now those tunes were utterly infectious).

London Grammar may of played Electric Brixton, The Troxy and now Brixton Academy but I can see the next place they play being Hammersmith Apollo.

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