Elbow Tour 2014 – Manchester

Depends on if you”re home…

So the home town gig came and went, it’s always an event. Last time around the band had friends and family sat in the seats on either side of the stage and dressed in white t-shirts, the “elbow choir” was pretty epic. I wondered how the set list would change from the warm up a few days before in Newcastle, and how the interchange would be different, You can’t plan spontaneity, after all.

This Blue World as intro

Charge. Everyone can do pissed off at the world songs, everyone can do happy at the world songs, it takes a Northerner, specifically this collection of Northerners, to do the “oh bloody hell more young’uns all over the place, I remember when” songs. Lippy Kids and this are brilliant and full of observations. Think of the moany old git who’s been coming to their pub for years and they turn up one day and its full of chavs, you get the picture. When Guy writes about the generation gap, beautiful things can happen.

The Bones of You

Fly Boy Blue / Lunette

Real Life (Angel)

The Night Will Always Win. Had me in tears, TEARS I tell you. Once again it was mentioned that the song was about the best course of action when dealing with grief. Best to be in a room with people who also miss the person, best not to be on your own.

New York Morning.  Guy pointed out that Elbow have ‘written plenty of songs about Manchester” before going onto sing this, which isn’t one of them.

The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

Great Expectations From the B Stage. They moved New York up in the set from Newcastle, and dropped Open Arms completely but this addition saw its genesis on the 135 bus from Bury to Manchester so it’s appropriate. It;s a song about a love affair involving two people where only one of them is aware that its happening. Love from afar.

The Blanket Of Night  From the B stage. A song about a refugee couple, Guy got a bit political here. Before this song he spoke about how immigration had become a topic to fight an election on and politicians seemed to have forgotten the human cost of someone fleaing their troubled homeland and trying to find safety somewhere else. 

Mirrorball

The Birds. Blistering.

Grounds for Divorce. Blistering. 

My Sad Captains. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Friendship. 

Starlings

Lippy Kids had the whistles sent out by Guy and returned by the crowd, I was dissapointed no-one up in the seats seemed to be singing the chorus back but apparently on the floor they did so ignore me.

One Day Like This Ahh yes that song. They might not be allowed to ever drop this, it seems bigger than that and its the reason they have gained a bigger audience. My own feelings aside it still is a great way to end the concert. 

I read something this week about One Day Like This, in the Guardian, it hits my point on the head beautifully; “The song undoubtedly casts a long shadow over Elbow’s career. Forty quid a ticket seems a lot of money to hear one song, particularly one you hear about three times a week, whether you want to or not.”

Concluding that Elbow are a band who “realised a mass audience loves them not for the big hit, but for what they really are”. 

(Alex Petridis, March 6th, The Guardian)

Well here it is, Manchester on wednesday night was full of people who remember Cuba. ‘People go to great lengths not to offend America’ said Guy once, when asked about the choice to go to Cuba, knowing it might affect United States tours in the future. They had the balls to do it. They wrote a song, and an album that connected with a great many people, One Day is a piece of music that will live on for as long as people need uplifting music for their montage, But Elbow know that not everyone is their just for that one song, and even those that are, my word do they stay when they hear the rest!

Manchester shows will benefit from a lot of the crowd relating to the places or the people that inspired the tunes, in a few cases the people were actually in the room and that’s whats really nice about these shows; in some cases.

One very sad element of the night surrounded someone who was not there, not in person anyway; Steve Lloyd sadly died recently, he was an important figure in the Manchester music scene. Steve produced Elbow’s first EP and co owned The Roadhouse. Guy told a story about how they once played a song to him during the recording of their EP;

 “The first time Craig and I played our songs for him he nodded off and it was the silence at the end of the song that woke him up. We carried on and he nodded off again. Steve nodded off four times before someone thought to get him a coffee.”

To absent friends, to present friends, to anyone who has ever been touched by this band and their music, last night meant a lot.

It’s fair to say, the boys built their rocket and they are in full control of the takeoff and landing of everything. See you in that London.

 

Elbow Tour 2014 – Newcastle Setlist

Intro, the instrumental part of This Blue World). Part of me was gutted this wasn’t the full thing, but it works as an intro well.

Charge

The Bones of You

Open Arms

Real Life (Angel)

The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

The Night Will Always Win

Puncture Repair
Puncture and the song before it really hit me as a pair. Anytime you hear Puncture Repair done live, be glad. I tingled from head to toe.

The Blanket of Night

The Birds

Grounds for Divorce

These two really work together. Might have expected Leaders but The Birds is heavy live. Grounds, well, crowd favourite as always.

Fly Boy Blue / Lunette (restarted)

My Sad Captains
Already sounds like a staple in the set. Loved this, all of them singing together on a song about friendships and life. This one could be the sister of Weather to Fly. That’s about the boys in the band and this is about the outside friends who aren’t seen as often because life moves pretty fast.

Mirrorball

New York Morning

Guy did the usual ‘Good night!’ fake leaving the stage thing but not before he asked us to pick a song to sing to get them back on. Someone in the crowd chose ‘Daydream Believer’ and when the band left, sure enough up it started. It morphed into the football version where I was sat.

Starlings
Having been used to hearing this as the intro it was nice to see it switched but still kept. Still keeps the ‘beginning’ vibe it had just now it begins the encore.

Lippy Kids
A favourite, the crowd participation gives me goosebumps.

One Day Like This

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Elbow Tour 2014 – Newcastle Part 2

Polishing a Compass

Last night was really good, the band seemed happy to be back on stage and Mr Garvey was truthfully in the best vocal form I’ve heard. I heard a while back that songs like ‘Powder Blue’ were dropped from the set coz Guy couldn’t hit the high notes. I can only think that’s bollocks because he sang so well last night.

They played the ones most would have picked from older albums and of course they cant get away without playing ‘One Day Like This’. Unpopular opinion alert, maybe, but I could live happily never hearing that song live again. Guy and the ‘gang’ approach it like its the first time they have ever played it. I’ll never forget that night during the homecoming Manchester gig on the Seldom tour, a couple literally sat there sighing with boredom until One Day inevitably closed the night complete with ticker tape and all that. Upon hearing the familiar stringed introduction, the guy in this double act flung his arms in the air like Kevin the teenager and shouted ‘at last, gawwwwd’. Why bother buying tickets at all? It was probably a date. I hope she gave him nowt.

I’m sat here watching the wheels go round and round, and speaking of Lennon; ‘New York Morning’ soared live. Even in the ratty O2 academy. Guy likes to get his northernisms in but folk and Yoko makes me chuckle. John Lennon was hounded out of England and embraced by New York. Let’s let them have Guy for a bit, but then can we have him back?  Cheers. Lennon said it himself though, if he had lived in the Roman empire  he would have wanted to live in Rome. America is the new Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself.

‘My Sad Captains’ is beautiful as I knew it would be but I feel I also have to mention songs that went over my head from Build a Rocket Boys; ‘The Birds’ has more about it for me now. It’s got bollocks now. Maybe it always did but last night I got that one. Another from that ilk is ‘The Night Will Always Win’. Guy said it was about not missing people at night. I finally get that one too, you can fake it and get through the day but it will get you at night, ‘never by the moon’. Listen to the words. In not unrelated news, my nan died recently. I do miss her face and her home truths. Anyway.

I’m sat here speeding back to Prestwich talking about Elbow with Gaz the driver. He loves the new album and specifically ‘New York Morning’ and ‘My Sad Captains’. He describes ‘Real Life (Angel)’ as fantastic. Itwas apparently worthy of repeat status last week. Gaz is also full of praise for ‘Honey Sun’.

The return trip is kicking the first trip’s mega bus dot com arse.

It will be interesting to see what gets added or dropped by the time I see them again a few days from now in the people’s republic of Mancunia. There didn’t seem much to iron out, a few false starts and music scuffs but nowt to right home about, although I guess I did just that, yes well.

I want me bed. I want sleep. I want hot vimto and mushy hot  weetabix and I want to remember hearing Guy sing ‘Puncture Repair’ and exactly how spine tingling it was to hear the crowd singing ‘Lippy Kids’ back to him. 

If you were there…

Elbow Tour 2014 – Newcastle Part 1

Hallelujah Morning

It’s a weird feeling and I don’t have it with anyone else. With any other band I’ve felt a distance and an untouchableness to them. Springsteen is immense, but I don’t want to meet him. He speaks to me through his music and he had helped me through that but I don’t walk in his world. Ok, I don’t walk at all, but you get what I mean. It’s seven in the bloody morning, gimme a break. 

Elbow aren’t untouchable. Their music and lyrics mean just as much and help just as much but there’s something extra from them. There’s the band up on the stage and theres the sold out arena crowd with their hands in the air as confetti falls from the ceiling. That band who practised in our church hall, I used to see the drum set up when I was there for cubs every friday night. Drums incidentally played by the lad who was lucky enough to have me in his class at playscheme. The same lad who sat with me in church one Christmas ready to read one of the nine lessons. 

How’s the band going? Really good he says, we just changed the name though.To what, says I; To elbow, says Richard. Elbow? Says me. Why? Richard tells me its Coz it’s the best word in the English language to speak, then goes on to tell me it’s from some detective bloke who sings or something. 

I tell him when he gets the music thing off the ground I’ll of course be on hand to write the words that review it all. I did and they are all here, I’ve been lucky enough to follow them a few times and I’m convincing myself here and now that it’s some kind if Bury solidarity that sees me leaving my lovely corner of the world, putting myself on a mega bus and heading for the north east. Yay, road trip. Enthusiastic. Mean it. I stick me headphones in and Guy starts singing and I realise it’d not going to be that bad.

Wait. No. Yes it is.

I’m on a bus like the one you used to go on trips with school. The wheelchair access lift springs out from the steps…from the steps! It’s like some kind of optimus prime shit, I kid you not. I’m at the front next to the driver, bollocks. Bet the cool kids are at the back. Don’t blame me if someone starts a sing a long about being ‘off in a motor car’ with fifty coppers after us or whatever.

I’m looking right down the stair well and about an hour into the journey the driver stops, comes over and tells me to put the extra safety belt on so that he doesn’t worry about me. Slightly worried now.

They tell you that you can use the toilet on these busses. They don’t mean me. Luckily I saw this problem coming and I didn’t drink. That being said nothing can prevent the ‘I need a wee’ dance when it starts; not even Guy singing about the free world. 

Tonight should be brilliant. I’m quite proud of them. 

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Puppet Rebellion – Chemical Friends EP

LAST NIGHT the wait was over and Manchester band Puppet Rebellion pressed the buttons that released their new EP Chemical Friends to the world. If you were waiting, welcome to the other side, you can now hear the fully realised album in all its glory. If you weren’t waiting and you have no idea who the band is then do yourself a favour, download the tracks and wake up your brain, it is new music and it has got people excited. Click to download the EP here.

The first track of the EP, the title track, hits you with an immediacy, an urgency that carries you along – it’s a bit dark and yet still catchy. Next The Greatest Lie Ever Told is an absolute tune, it has a beat that drives and melodic guitar that lays on top. The vocals are one thing ‘we don’t need you, I don’t believe you’ may well be in your head this time tomorrow and the singer goes from yearny and sweet to stinging and raw effortlessly, the drums and guitar work take this song up a level for me because when they come to the fore around the 2 min 30 mark, you’ll believe it. Simon has never sounded better vocally than he does on this track, or on this album generally.

The New Twenty is a chimey, chirpey upbeat track with a really cheeky melody.

There’s a feeling when you listen to the EP that it isn’t designed to slowly grow on you, it’s almost as if it doesn’t want to wait for that, it’s not going to politely sit and wait for you to mull it over and decide if it’s interesting or not – it’s going to grab you by the unmentionables and take you on a quality ride. Chemical Friends is fast and it’s furious, it’s melodic, it’s engaging and it sounds instant but the band have worked very hard and taken their time to put the strongest songs out there, it shows.

This is a very strong EP. Forward the rebellion!

Words © 2013 Simon Andrew Moult / MoultyMedia
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