A good night, all in all...

They don’t look up to much. But Elbow shabbily stumble across the equipment-laden stage and into our hearts in a matter of seconds. The hypnotic ‘Any Day Now”s ebbing mantra is reason alone to believe this five-piece are going to be the surefire soundtrack for all the romance and heartbreak to come. Sure, the usual comparisons can be dragged out here (Radiohead, Elliott Smith) but such is the band’s utter lack of self-consciousness and sheer, undiluted beauty that it’s kind of a compliment. Guy Garvey’s voice soars and swoops, enchanting and entrancing. And ‘Newborn”s hazy, melancholic swirl offers ample evidence they can do ‘epic’, albeit in the most low-key manner possible (not too sure about the extended coda, mind). They’re gonna be huge. Any day now.

Lowgold, on the other hand, offer a lumpen, stodgy take on ’70s jangle. They’ve found a barren spot roughly between The Eagles and Teenage Fanclub, and are steadfastly refusing to leave. That’s not to say they’re without merit – ‘In Amber’ is awesome, all duelling harmonies and sky-scraping guitar. But while the likes of ‘Mercury’ and ‘Can’t Say No’ are pleasant enough pop ditties, they don’t force their way into your heart forcefully enough. They’re knocking on the door, but no more than that.

Grandaddy got the keys to the door long ago. Recent live outings from the bearded bunch have tended to be a bit of a let-down, their low-key sonic armoury not quite suited to the bigger venues they now find themselves in. But tonight they’re meatier, packing a punch which elevates the material from this year’s classic ‘The Sophtware Slump’ album into unchartered territories. ‘Chartsengrafs’ is taut, tense and dynamic, ‘Hewlett’s Daughter”s fragile beauty provokes a collective sigh which can probably be heard all over west London, while the epic ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot’ is so tender and huggable ten minutes doesn’t seem like nearly long enough.

A host of furry animals roam the stage (and the crowd) at random intervals, much to everyone’s amusement. In a remarkable act of synchronicity, some Super Furries are in the house. How appropriate. This tired-looking bunch of bearded shyboys are the only rock band around who can combine raw emotion, guitar pop and electronic experimentalism as well as the Welsh warriors.

A good night, all in all.

Alan Woodhouse