Elbow at the Showbox this past Tuesday, seemed like such a non-event. Their cd Leaders of the Free World was released last year with no promotion and then got its official release a month ago. So if they had toured last year around the time their record was first available here, maybe I would have felt a little more excitement. This felt kind of like when a band comes through town for the second or third time promoting their record.
Guy Garvey is a great front man. He has a kind of easygoing, gregarious presence that gets you to pay attention. It seems like Elbow has really developed since I last saw them on their first tour of the states with South. Back then they relied on a wall of guitar to get their point across. Now they’ve got a myriad of weapons. Better songs, harmony/chant vocals, killer bass and just a better fleshed out sound. In fact the guitar seemed to take a back seat to everything else. They started the show with Station Approach with its really cool chanting chorus that filled the room with a reverberation that was palpable. Some of the slower songs were a snooze but they did all the hits (except for Picky Bastard) and closed with the one everyone was waiting for, Forget Myself. This was a fun show that I shouldn’t take for granted…definitely not a non-event.
I haven’t been a big fan of the Showbox, it’s like being in a big cave. But this was a 21+ show, so you could actually have a drink and be close to the stage, instead of being relegated to the back of the house where the bar is. Maybe I’m just old but all ages shows are such a hassle. Thanks to the puritan west, everything has to be roped off to make sure someone who is 35 isn’t giving their 18 year old buddies beer.