Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Interesting Body Part

"Are we having the time of our life?"

The answer that night at the Antwerp Lotto Arena was gradually formulated louder and more clear as the question was repeated over and over again by Guy Garvey, lead singer of the British band Elbow.

YES, we are.

At that moment it did feel like it. Standing in a crowd, you feel one with everybody there. All the differences dissolve until you're all just one giant heap of flesh waving its 12.000 arms and singing at the top of the same amount of lungs. And that beast enjoys the music with every pore. 
And no matter how many times you've experienced this, you truly realise: 
I will never re-live this moment. 

With the release of their latest album 'Build A Rocket Boys!', Elbow has affirmed their place among the great British musicians of their time. The band has been around for over fourteen years. Not seldom the first few albums of a band represent the height of their originality and authenticity. With Elbow however, I think that, apart from their debut album 'Asleep in the back', this one is one of their best yet. 'Build A Rocket Boys!' has a fluency and natural quality that makes me think that maybe Elbow is reaching their mature sound. 

Seeing the band live is well worth it. Their grandstand performance and high sing-along level lend them an American allure and makes for a spectacular concert. In other words, they do know how to put on a show. 
The screens that adorned the setting were adjusted to match the different songs and change accordingly. The string quartet accompanying the band throughout most of the performance contributed to the high sound quality. When they started the contagious ballad 'Mirrorball' a genuine mirrorball was lowered from the stage to immerse the concerthall in a flickering light. 

Mirrorball @ Lotto Arena Antwerpen, 6 november. Footage :Uschi Cop 

One of the heights of the evening was Garvey's short improvisation session and 'Grounds for Divorce' that followed after.

  Grounds for Divorce @ Lotto Arena Antwerpen, 6 november. Footage :Uschi Cop 

In contrast to all this spectacle, there was an intimate interlude in the form of an acoustic set that contained songs like 'The night will always win', 'The River' and 'Some Riot'. For me this was the most magical part of the concert.

The Night Will Always Win @ Lotto Arena Antwerpen, 6 november. Footage :Uschi Cop 

I leave you with my best remembrance of the set list. A lot of songs from their last two albums, too little of their earlier work. 

The Birds (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011)
The Bones of you (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
Mirrorball (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
Neat little rows (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011)
Grounds for divorce (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
The loneliness of a tower crane driver (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
The night will always win (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011)
The River (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011) 
Some Riot (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
Dear Friends (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011) 
Lippy Kids (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011)
Weather to Fly (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
Open Arms (Build a Rocket Boys! 2011) 

Starlings (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)
Station Approach (Leaders of the Free World 2005)
One Day like this (The Seldom Seen Kid 2008)

The Mere Alchemist

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