Elbow, Bombay Bicycle Club @ The Tivoli, Brisbane (24/03/12)

A seemingly older crowd were drawn to the Tivoli tonight for Elbow’s first of two shows in Brisbane. The venue is once again packed with a surge of fans clearly excited to catch a glimpse of the English five piece’s much acclaimed live show.

First up though are special guests and fellow Brit’s, Bombay Bicycle Club. Opening with latest track How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, their light hearted indie-pop was impressive to say the least but didn’t really hit the mark with the older crowd in attendance. The piano jangle of Shuffle did force some punters to the dance floor, but unfortunately only a few. However, for fans of the band they had a real treat tonight.

The start time for tonight’s headliners of 9.15pm on a Saturday night was bizarrely early for the regular concert goer. Kicking off with the slow building The Birds, Elbow seemed to have won over the crowd from the start. The stage was packed with members, instruments and guests backing the band, with a rather expansive and yet ambient light show which had a solo mirror ball hanging from the ceiling to the right of the stage.

Making an early appearance, Grounds for Divorce got the venue shaking with its thunderous guitar lines and audience participation. it is after this rocker though that a number of sound issues seem to arise – mainly the lack of volume behind the band. Even though they are a dynamic band, the lack of volume really makes songs like the soaring The Night Will Always Win disappoint, which saw bar chatter overpower the expansive band.

Another problem with tonight’s show was that for anyone who saw the band’s performance last year at Splendour In The Grass, you were not in for any treats in terms of the setlist or performance elements. When crowd favourite Lippy Kids comes along everything simply feels far too familiar with the planned audience participation and convenient ‘technical issue’ that caused the track to start again with singer Guy Garvey wanting even the audience to be louder this time.

Following on, the band convene for a round of shots and a short sing along before abandoning the behind the piano bar singalong for the grandeur of The Seldom Seen Kid’s Weather to Fly and the anthem like Open Arms complete with the addition of strings to the mix. Garvey played his role well, swaying his arms through the tracks verses then transforming into to the dictator of the stage for the triumphant chorus to the obligatory leaving of the stage for the first time of the night.

When the band eventually regathered, Garvey and a number of other members were equipped with horns for a rendition of Starling and in a soccer match/olympic games type tribute the Australian flag falls from Garvey’s trumpet. Leaders of the Free World track Station Approach rang true with the audience even with Garvey’s thick British references/accent. The set ended naturally with One Day Like This complete with the lighting blazing and a beautiful performance from the string section.

Tonight’s show wasn’t necessarily a bad show, but more of a predictable one. Garvey’s banter seemed at times legitimate, but at others it seems like he memorised his lines through many years of repetition. Even those who weren’t in attendance for their set at Splendour In The Grass seemed almost a bit short changed with the high ticket price and the fact that Bombay Bicycle Club’s mix was extensively louder. Still, a solid show that would perhaps suit tonight’s conditions more appropriately if perhaps refined and somewhat more personalised.