Local Current Blog

Review: London Grammar bring their polished sound to First Avenue

Hannah Reid of London Grammar performs last year in The Current's studios. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

On Tuesday night, London Grammar played a First Avenue show that had been rescheduled from Nov. 22. You would think a Saturday night show rescheduled for a Tuesday would thin out the crowd, but the Twin Cities decided that the polished and refined sound of London Grammar was worth losing a little weeknight sleep.

The first notes rang out before the Mainroom screen even rose as Dot Major played the keyboard alone on stage. Slowly and deliberately, guitarist Dan Rothman and vocalist Hannah Reid joined him to kick the show off with “Hey Now.” The whole room was filled with Reid’s warm vocals.

The band confidently played in front of the room filled with fans that had been anticipating the show since November. The crowd stood quietly and savored every moment, alternately cheering for Rothman’s crisp guitar and Reid’s strong voice.

Major’s playing was rich and atmospheric, whether he was on the drum pad, the keyboard, or on the drum kit with a backing track. The sound on “Flicker” in particular depended on Major’s ability to move between instruments and create a dense atmosphere.

The crowd was as intently focused as the band—to the point that the onstage banter, which involved all three members—started to feel like attempts to loosen up the audience, who barely made any noise as London Grammar played their hit “Strong,” a song that toped charts in multiple countries in 2013.

The crowd did start to loosen up after Rothman announced they would be playing their only cover song, Kovinsy’s “Nightcall.” As Reid belted, “there’s something inside of you, it’s hard to explain,” the crowd caught on and joined in as the beat took hold.

After just a few moments offstage, the band returned for an encore: Reid and Rothman took the stage together to play “If You Wait,” an emotional number that made you feel alone in the room with Reid as she played the keys. Major joined the group to finish out the night with “Metal & Dust.”

Set list
Hey Now
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me
Shyer
Wasting My Young Years
Flickers
Sights
Stay Awake
Nightcall
Strong
Encore
If You Wait
Metal & Dust

Aaron Bolton is a senior at the University of Minnesota. Currently he is a co-host on Radio K’s Off The Record and is the music reporter at Radio K. He hopes to continue a career in music journalism.

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