London Grammar return to Manchester’s O2 Apollo for a second sold out show this week and the atmosphere is already electric as the trio head on to stage.
Throughout their set they have a perfect balance of tracks from their debut and recent album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing. But judging by this crowd you wouldn’t think it was released just over four months ago, because they know every single world. Frontwoman Hannah Reid herself notes that Manchester has been the loudest of the tour so far and it’s believable.
They play a stunning version of the album’s title track which sees Reid head to the piano and showcase her huge vocal range in an emotional performance before playing fan favourite Hey Now, which sees the group visibly impressed by how loud the audience are.
The group are accompanied by a well-orchestrated light show which elevates their dreamy pop sound which could potentially get lost in a venue of this size. As someone who often goes to high-energy pop gigs it’s refreshing to sit back and really invest in the live vocals and lyrics. Particularly on mellow tracks including Bones of Ribbon and Non Believer.
During mid-set the group tell us a story of a couple, Lee and Hannah, who they met in Hull and that Lee has something to ask his girlfriend. Soon, the crowd is cheering as he proposes to his girlfriend in the perfect setting. Reid then tell us that her own – and the newly engaged audience members’ – favourite song is Rooting For You. Despite a restart Reid’s vocals shine through in a gospel performance of the track which is as good as any pop diva in the charts. But it seems right that she’s a part of this group which works so well together rather than a solo artist. Her vocals are complimented throughout by the synths, drums and guitar accompaniment from Dominic Major and Dan Rothman.
They close on Metal & Dust and ask the audience to stand up – unintentionally giving themselves a deserved standing ovation – to dance to the “only song you can really dance to” as Reid says. Their breakthrough track resonated with listeners in 2013 and it’s clear it still does now four years later as they choose it for their closing number.
Their live set proves exactly why they’re a number one selling band. Earlier this year they beat US popstar Katy Perry for the UK number one album, which may have surprised them but they deserve it. Their honest, dreamy pop has connected with a strong following who are heading out in their thousands to catch the trio live during this tour. The group’s second Manchester show is a triumph that’ll be remembered by fans new and old.
Review & Photos: Jonny Yates