Elbow have been around for so long they’ve been contemporaries of countless rounds of new, up and coming bands. Eighteen years, in fact, but only seven since their debut Asleep In The Back saw the light of day.
That’s a fair time to keep plugging away looking for the album or song that will break them into the big time.
What has kept them together through it all was clear on stage – friendship and mutual admiration.
They should be as successful as the likes of Coldplay; in Guy Garvey they have a great frontman – witty eloquent with one of the most distinctive and most powerful voices around.
The songs – from the atmospheric debut to this year’s The Seldom Seen Kid – are packed with emotion and their fair share of catchy hooks and singalong choruses.
Only now, with the current album scooping last month’s Mercury Music Prize, do they seem to be getting their just rewards.
The Civic was understandably packed – no elbow room, if you will.
From opener Starlings (track one on the new album), this was a jovial celebration, Garvey constantly toasting the crowd (who he collectively christened ‘Kirsty’), dedicating songs to the lighting designer’s mum, bassist Pete Turner’s uncle and several of the audience.
The favourites were all there – from the foot stompers like Grounds For Divorce (currently to be heard on the trailer to the new Coen Brothers film), Leaders of The Free World and Bones Of You, to the more ethereal New Born, the wonderfully titled The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver, Fugitive Motel and One Day Like This (a regular soundtrack to this summer’s TV sport).
All too soon it was over, but not before Garvey polled the crowd and urged them to tempt Elbow back for an encore, not with just hollers and cheers but a rendition of Carl Douglas’s 1974 smash Kung Fu Fighting.
They duly obliged, Garvey and Turner exchanging suitable kung fu poses as they returned for more crowd pleasers like Station Approach, a tribute to their hometown of Bury.
The locals should be justly proud of them – even if it has taken them so long to get here.