Posts Tagged ‘Elbow’

Intro, the instrumental part of This Blue World). Part of me was gutted this wasn’t the full thing, but it works as an intro well.


The Bones of You

Open Arms

Real Life (Angel)

The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

The Night Will Always Win

Puncture Repair
Puncture and the song before it really hit me as a pair. Anytime you hear Puncture Repair done live, be glad. I tingled from head to toe.

The Blanket of Night

The Birds

Grounds for Divorce

These two really work together. Might have expected Leaders but The Birds is heavy live. Grounds, well, crowd favourite as always.

Fly Boy Blue / Lunette (restarted)

My Sad Captains
Already sounds like a staple in the set. Loved this, all of them singing together on a song about friendships and life. This one could be the sister of Weather to Fly. That’s about the boys in the band and this is about the outside friends who aren’t seen as often because life moves pretty fast.


New York Morning

Guy did the usual ‘Good night!’ fake leaving the stage thing but not before he asked us to pick a song to sing to get them back on. Someone in the crowd chose ‘Daydream Believer’ and when the band left, sure enough up it started. It morphed into the football version where I was sat.

Having been used to hearing this as the intro it was nice to see it switched but still kept. Still keeps the ‘beginning’ vibe it had just now it begins the encore.

Lippy Kids
A favourite, the crowd participation gives me goosebumps.

One Day Like This


Polishing a Compass

Last night was really good, the band seemed happy to be back on stage and Mr Garvey was truthfully in the best vocal form I’ve heard. I heard a while back that songs like ‘Powder Blue’ were dropped from the set coz Guy couldn’t hit the high notes. I can only think that’s bollocks because he sang so well last night.

They played the ones most would have picked from older albums and of course they cant get away without playing ‘One Day Like This’. Unpopular opinion alert, maybe, but I could live happily never hearing that song live again. Guy and the ‘gang’ approach it like its the first time they have ever played it. I’ll never forget that night during the homecoming Manchester gig on the Seldom tour, a couple literally sat there sighing with boredom until One Day inevitably closed the night complete with ticker tape and all that. Upon hearing the familiar stringed introduction, the guy in this double act flung his arms in the air like Kevin the teenager and shouted ‘at last, gawwwwd’. Why bother buying tickets at all? It was probably a date. I hope she gave him nowt.

I’m sat here watching the wheels go round and round, and speaking of Lennon; ‘New York Morning’ soared live. Even in the ratty O2 academy. Guy likes to get his northernisms in but folk and Yoko makes me chuckle. John Lennon was hounded out of England and embraced by New York. Let’s let them have Guy for a bit, but then can we have him back?  Cheers. Lennon said it himself though, if he had lived in the Roman empire  he would have wanted to live in Rome. America is the new Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself.

‘My Sad Captains’ is beautiful as I knew it would be but I feel I also have to mention songs that went over my head from Build a Rocket Boys; ‘The Birds’ has more about it for me now. It’s got bollocks now. Maybe it always did but last night I got that one. Another from that ilk is ‘The Night Will Always Win’. Guy said it was about not missing people at night. I finally get that one too, you can fake it and get through the day but it will get you at night, ‘never by the moon’. Listen to the words. In not unrelated news, my nan died recently. I do miss her face and her home truths. Anyway.

I’m sat here speeding back to Prestwich talking about Elbow with Gaz the driver. He loves the new album and specifically ‘New York Morning’ and ‘My Sad Captains’. He describes ‘Real Life (Angel)’ as fantastic. Itwas apparently worthy of repeat status last week. Gaz is also full of praise for ‘Honey Sun’.

The return trip is kicking the first trip’s mega bus dot com arse.

It will be interesting to see what gets added or dropped by the time I see them again a few days from now in the people’s republic of Mancunia. There didn’t seem much to iron out, a few false starts and music scuffs but nowt to right home about, although I guess I did just that, yes well.

I want me bed. I want sleep. I want hot vimto and mushy hot  weetabix and I want to remember hearing Guy sing ‘Puncture Repair’ and exactly how spine tingling it was to hear the crowd singing ‘Lippy Kids’ back to him. 

If you were there…

Hallelujah Morning

It’s a weird feeling and I don’t have it with anyone else. With any other band I’ve felt a distance and an untouchableness to them. Springsteen is immense, but I don’t want to meet him. He speaks to me through his music and he had helped me through that but I don’t walk in his world. Ok, I don’t walk at all, but you get what I mean. It’s seven in the bloody morning, gimme a break. 

Elbow aren’t untouchable. Their music and lyrics mean just as much and help just as much but there’s something extra from them. There’s the band up on the stage and theres the sold out arena crowd with their hands in the air as confetti falls from the ceiling. That band who practised in our church hall, I used to see the drum set up when I was there for cubs every friday night. Drums incidentally played by the lad who was lucky enough to have me in his class at playscheme. The same lad who sat with me in church one Christmas ready to read one of the nine lessons. 

How’s the band going? Really good he says, we just changed the name though.To what, says I; To elbow, says Richard. Elbow? Says me. Why? Richard tells me its Coz it’s the best word in the English language to speak, then goes on to tell me it’s from some detective bloke who sings or something. 

I tell him when he gets the music thing off the ground I’ll of course be on hand to write the words that review it all. I did and they are all here, I’ve been lucky enough to follow them a few times and I’m convincing myself here and now that it’s some kind if Bury solidarity that sees me leaving my lovely corner of the world, putting myself on a mega bus and heading for the north east. Yay, road trip. Enthusiastic. Mean it. I stick me headphones in and Guy starts singing and I realise it’d not going to be that bad.

Wait. No. Yes it is.

I’m on a bus like the one you used to go on trips with school. The wheelchair access lift springs out from the steps…from the steps! It’s like some kind of optimus prime shit, I kid you not. I’m at the front next to the driver, bollocks. Bet the cool kids are at the back. Don’t blame me if someone starts a sing a long about being ‘off in a motor car’ with fifty coppers after us or whatever.

I’m looking right down the stair well and about an hour into the journey the driver stops, comes over and tells me to put the extra safety belt on so that he doesn’t worry about me. Slightly worried now.

They tell you that you can use the toilet on these busses. They don’t mean me. Luckily I saw this problem coming and I didn’t drink. That being said nothing can prevent the ‘I need a wee’ dance when it starts; not even Guy singing about the free world. 

Tonight should be brilliant. I’m quite proud of them. 


Approaching Home

Home is where the start is for Elbow, on Leaders of the Free World.


When you’ve written about wanting to get somewhere and you’ve written about what you feel like when you’ve got there, you’ve got to find your way home. Elbow do this with a stomp and a wink with Leaders of the Free World (2005). Whereas they certainly needed grace under pressure to complete Cast of Thousands, the band had learnt that the right approach this time was to capture ideas as and when they happened on the road, whenever and wherever inspiration hit them.

The band manage to channel the ideas into a collection that has a very developed sense of place and environment, this is very clear in the opening track. Station Approach is about coming home to Manchester (station approach, Piccadilly station) and literally knowing the area well and being at home. The listener is not excluded if they happen not to live in this city, because Guy Garvey’s lyrics can apply to anyone wherever they are listening. Three albums’ in, the universal intimacy is something they have perfected.


The second string to the Elbow came in 2003. Two years on from that second first album and with more than a few people looking in their direction to see what was going to come next from this band; Elbow seem to deliver contrasts. They create a universal intimacy which is evident in spades on Cast of Thousands along with a feeling that now they are reaching an audience and they know it (quite literally when you remember that the crowd at their Glastonbury performance sings on Grace Under Pressure).

Ribcage opens the album and seems like Any Day Now, Chapter 2. The band have got out of town, on the road to where they want to be going and there is a great contrast that they “blew the doors, didn’t we? Pissed in their champagne…gave ourselves a name”.  You can’t blame Mr. Garvey and the other ‘elboys’ for showing some elation following some time wondering if their time in the spotlight was going to happen. “I wanted to explode, to pull my ribs apart and let the sun inside!”

They do that and then some. This track takes off with an almost hypnotic drumbeat, mantra-like repetition and a Gospel choir for good measure. The boys are nothing if not ballsy in working out what else they can add to a recording to give it the right feel. Gospel choir? Why not! Sing through a tambourine? Give it a go! But at the point where it is all getting big, we’re again pulled down to earth by the boys because while they “blew the doors”, they are still rooted in the everyday; Universal intimacy.

“We call that love, All you have is kisses and all I need is you.”

Fallen Angel is a stomp with interesting lyrics warning about things that are waiting to “bear their teeth for you” and a good guitar part. To me the song is about or to someone who is down on their luck and who is not quite seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Fear not though, reader and listener, for a ‘gee up’ comes in the form of song…

Drag your feathers ‘cross the dancefloor, throw your shapes  electric blue. Don’t fall to pieces on me.

We’ve all had those moments where we’re told to keep our head up, best foot forward n’all that, “choose your favourite shoes and keep your blues on cruise control”, tomorrow is another day. Paul McCartney said that when he found himself in times of trouble, Mother Mary came to him… this perhaps hits on the same vein but more to the point.

“…count back the weeks on worried fingers, virgin mother whats’erface”