by Jon Perks
A week may be a long time in politics, but for London Grammar the last 12 months has seen an incredible transformation from aspiring hopefuls to bright, original and supremely talented artists.
A year ago, the trio, by their own admission, played a “terrible” first ever gig to friends and management at an indoor ski centre in Milton Keynes.
Four months ago, they played their first ever headline UK tour, which called in at the O2’s middle sized room, Academy 2.
This week saw them fill the main room – in every sense.
From the opening song of their 70 minute set – aptly their first ever release, Hey Now – Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman captivated the crowd with their emotion-drenched songs, Hannah a one-woman lesson in power and pitch.
The singer seems to put every ounce of herself in to each syllable, hands reaching out to the audience as if a cry for help.
It’s strong, stirring stuff – the likes of Wasting My Young Years, Nightcall (a great cover of the Kalinsky track that originally appeared on the Drive soundtrack) and encore Metal and Dust (all from debut album If You Wait) each distinct and yet trademark London Grammar – Hannah’s plaintive vocals complemented by Dan Rothman’s minimalist guitar and Dot Major’s percussion, slowly building to a incredible climactic crescendo.
Anyone not moved by this performance needs to check their pulse.
Rating: * * * * *
London Grammar setlist
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me
Wasting My Young Years
Flickers followed by Dan and Dot jamming)
Nightcall (Kavinsky cover)
If You Wait
Metal & Dust