Seeing Elbow perform songs from ‘Little Fictions‘ at the Hammersmith Apollo last night confirmed the strength of the new album. ‘Magnificent’, in particular, lived up to its name and got almost as big a response from the sell-out crowd as the old favourites.
Otherwise this was a typically wonderful Elbow evening, full of life-affirming anthems, collective love, and rambling banter. The songs included an edgy ‘Fly Boy / Lunette’, the fantastic ‘Little Fictions’, complete with crowd-challenging hand-clap, ‘Lippy Kids’, a sublime ‘Sad Captains’ and, of course, a glorious sing-a-long of ‘One Day Like This’ (although for the first time I can remember since ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ was released, ‘One Day’ was not the finale, with new single ‘All Disco’ instead closing the show).
Front man, Guy Garvey, is now so at ease in front of his audience that he needs only a look or a word to get us to do his bidding. He’d barely walked on stage when the “Hands!” command was invoked and fifty thousand fingers and thumbs obediently started waggling in the air.
Later on during an anecdote about a heckler once confusing the band with Travis and shouting for “Sing”, a moment of doubt creeps in and Garvey checks with his bandmates for confirmation of the yarn. When none is forthcoming he chuckles and brings the crowd back with the query, “Do you want a true story, or a good story?”.
The best moment of the night for markontour, however, was when a glowing backdrop of English agriculture lit up the stage as Guy Garvey sang the closing stanzas of beautiful new number, ‘Kindling’: “And the wheat fields explode into gold either side of the train”. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful stuff.