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You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Music > Reviews > Elbow at the Academy

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Elbow at the Academy

There is a time in every great band's career when they cease to belong to the place they are from and transport themselves to a higher level of ownership.

Elbow have just come to that point and it was writ large across their show at the Academy. In the past, their Manchester dates have been love-ins, places of reassurance that showed them that while they might have to try hard elsewhere, when they come home, we simply accept them as they are.

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Not so anymore. From the opening trumpets to the closing crescendo, Elbow's show tonight was, for the most part, just another stop on their tour – which isn't to say it was average, more that they have transcended localities and become something more.

It's mostly because of the comfort level of Guy Garvey. Always a fine front man, his stints as a radio DJ since the release of 'Leaders Of The Free World' has given him an added touch of smoothness and charm that fills the room.

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

That did mean that at times, it felt like 'An Audience With Guy', especially when he brought on his new friend Richard Hawley for a rendition of their somewhat self-indulgent collaboration, 'The Fix', but the stagecraft he now wields is one half of the reason for their increasing fame.

The other is the sheer splendour of the majority of new album, 'The Seldom Seen Kid'. Tonight, it was the new songs that shone brightest, with the dramatic power of 'Grounds For Divorce' and the brooding, aching reach of 'Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver' deserving the highest praise.

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Elbow (c) Shirlaine Forrest

In fact, such is the clout of their new collection that elsewhere in the set, it was only the tracks which could fall into its new smoother, more epic template that made total sense. The influence brought a new edge to the classic 'Red' – "an oldie, but in my humble opinion, a goldie" as Guy put it - and the ever impressive 'Newborn'.

Still, as the clamouring ecstasy of 'Grace Under Pressure' brought proceedings to a close, you couldn't help but feel a tinge of sadness. The future is bright for Elbow and rightly so, but the truth is they've finally outgrown us and left behind their Manchester tag.

last updated: 14/04/2008 at 16:39
created: 14/04/2008

You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Music > Reviews > Elbow at the Academy

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