London Grammar at Festival Hall: Event Review

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London Grammar bought their two-year long If You Wait tour to an end in Melbourne, giving fans a fitting and emotional send off for the beloved album. The band released If You Wait in September 2013, and the album peaked at number 2 on the Australian charts, but has also gone on to be certified platinum in the country. The love Australians have for London Grammar, particularly those at the show on Saturday, was felt in the crowd, who were enchanted and engrossed from a near flawless performance from London Grammar.

London Grammar previously toured Australia as part of The Falls Music and Arts Festival at the end of 2013. While performing at the festival, it seemed the band was overwhelmed with the attention and appreciation received from the Australian crowds. This time, however, the trio seemed completely at home in front of a sold out Festival Hall crowd. During their 2013 performance at The Falls, lead singer Hannah Reid walked out onto the stage with her hands over her face in surprise to the sight she saw before her. This time Reid, and her bandmates, Dan Rothman and Dominic Major, fronted the crowd with confidence and ease, despite the size and scale of the venue.

The extended intro of opening song “Hey Now” highlighted the confidence and self awareness the band now carries with them while performing. Instantly, it is Hannah Reid’s amazing vocals which enchant the crowd; her powerful, brooding voice is a true highlight of the evening. Reid seemed more at ease while performing, wandering around the stage, waving to fans, while keeping her vocals soaring out above the sounds from her band mates.

Rothman and Major create a unique blend of ambient, ethereal and classical sounds. Rothman’s guitar adds subtle melody lines and a sense of melancholy to the band’s songs, while Major moves from keys, drums, percussion and synths, to recreate the atmosphere of the bands debut. The band played songs exclusively from their debut album, and although it is cliché to say, the songs definitely sounded better live, and translated beautifully from the studio to the live setting.

Backed by a string quartet, the depth and subtleties of the band’s music was not lost during the performance. The crowd seemed entranced by the band, never letting their attention move from the performance in front of them. A real strength of the show was the lighting and production, which complemented the material to create an atmosphere fitting for every song. Festival Hall is a venue that often comes under fire for poor sound and visual qualities; however, this was hardly noticeable during the show, due to the quality of the production which ebbed and flowed with the songs and sights coming from the stage.

From Reid’s vocal performance in “Wasting my Young Years,” and the crowd participation during “Strong,” the show was full of highlights for fans. It seemed the show was a real highlight for the band as well, with all the band members remarking on how the support from Australia has really helped catapult their career. London Grammar have come so far from the band who graced Australian shores way back in 2013. The trio put on an amazing performance that was so well put together and provided the perfect send off for the band’s debut album and world tour.

It will be interesting to see where London Grammar take themselves next. However, it seems with their confidence and strong performance, things can only be on the way up for the band. The setlist from the show is: “Hey Now,” “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me,” “Interlude,” “Shyer,” “Wasting My Young Years,” “Flickers,” “Help Me Lose My Mind,” “Sights,” “Stay Awake,” “Night Call,” “Strong,” “If You Wait,” and “Metal and Dust.”