London Grammar at Rock City
Ex-Uni trio smash return to old stomping ground
London Grammar: from amateurs to prose in under a year, it has been a meteoric rise for the Londoners who studied at the University of Nottingham.
After playing at Lenton bar Bag o’ Nails only a couple of years ago, London Grammar embarked on the third stop of their sold-out tour of Britain last night, unleashing their epically minimalist songs to a packed Rock City.
The trio started with typical atmospheric purpose, drawing out the intro to new single – but old favourite – Hey Now. If that song was a little slow, Dot Major’s djembe drumming on next track Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me certainly picked up the pace (and edginess).
With lighting and facial expressions to match the sombre tone of their songs, it was clear that these three kids take their music seriously. That is, until lead vocalist Hannah Reid pointed out an area to the left of the stage she “threw up in once during Crisis.” Classy.
Earnestly infectious, Dan Rothman’s staccato bass swam through album track Shyer, while Top 40 charting single Wasting My Young Years provided the first sing-along moment for an expectant crowd.
Much like debut album If You Wait, the climactic highlight was undoubtedly Grammar’s classic cover of Kavinsky’s Nightcall.
Reid’s soaring voice rules almost every song – and why shouldn’t it? The combination of Kavinsky’s writing and Reid’s voice feels genuinely heartbreaking when she cries ‘I’m giving you a nightcall to tell you how I feel’.
The only exception to what is an exceptional voice dominating each of Grammar’s tracks is encore-closing Metal & Dust.
Here, Major’s outstandingly inventive and gripping drumming takes over at the breakdown, sending heads bopping all over the Rock City balcony.