– by Ivy Monique James & Aliza Caruso
London Grammar, Tuesday 5 March, Redhill Auditorium
The venue is a parking fiasco and the auditorium could be a claustrophobe’s worst nightmare, when packed to the brim, but to experience London Grammar under a starry sky and full moon was a great consolation. And supported by the dreamy Brooklyn based three-piece, Wet, the night began on an ultimate high and only got better.
A smoke machine bellows white smoke, which chokes the stage and emanates towards the audience. A faint golden glow can be seen above the stage, where a string quartet patiently awaits applause. A bright light beaming through the smoke reveals drummer and keyboardist Dominic ‘Dot’ Major, who is later joined by guitarist Dan Rothman. Building a climax with their magic fingers and accompanied by whizzing strobe lights, singer Hannah Reid finally emerges, and the crowd breaks out in wolf whistles and cheers.
Humming an improv ethereal tune you would imagine to be featured in a Lord of the Rings soundtrack, the audience maintained composure in their rapture, which broke when the familiar opening lyrics of ‘Hey Now’ followed. Alongside some striking LED visuals, the signature heavy bass of ‘Hey Now’’ reverberated across row after row of Redhill’s sold out auditorium, tying the audience and the band.
Sporting a high pony-tail, front-woman Hannah Reid’s blonde hair was illuminated by the white light, which made her appear like an angel. Dressed in a blue crop top and high-waisted denim jeans, she stole the show with her powerful vocal performance. Bopping her head to the rhythm and beat, she belted out soulful renditions of their 2013 debut album If You Wait, including ‘Shyer’, ‘Nightcall’ and the first song they ever wrote, ‘Flickers’.
While her lower register exudes loss and melancholy, her spine-tingling high notes highlight her strength and determination. After reaching a dramatic peak in ‘Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me’ from their EP Metal And Dust, London Grammar’s string set lifted and lowered their bows in unison to create a memorable moment.
Mid-set, Reid quipped about her newfound Australian paranoia, inspecting toilet bowls and her shoes for spiders, and being on high-alert for sharks while swimming at the beach. Yeah, us Perth-ites, we live dangerously.
Rothman thanked Australia for being the first country to truly embrace their music and explained it was because of this they chose to close their If You Wait album tour, here, in Australia. It’s safe to say the audience was rather chuffed.
London Grammar ended the main set with ‘Strong’, and provided the audience with two further songs for an encore (including a moving, solo performance of ‘If You Wait’, with Reid on the piano), much to the audience’s pleasure.
The band bid the crowd farewell with their posh English accents, drawing a close to a captivating performance.
Photo Credit: Trent Simms