It was a long time coming for Elbow, a band who took the scenic route to success, but last night's performance in Kilmainham confirmed that Guy Garvey and co. are a group at the absolute top of their game.
The second of five successive concerts on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, one couldn't help but think that the concert promoters tempted fate a little too readily by adorning this gig series with the moniker 'Summer Nights at the RHK', the outdoor gig equivalent of performing a rain dance. Nonetheless, by the time Elbow took to the stage at around twenty to nine the weather had decided to play nice and postpone its impression of November.
Opening with 'Charge', one of the highlights from their new album The Take Off and Landing of Everything, a song in which Garvey outlines his fear of becoming a bitter old drunk. Lyrically it is outstanding and very much in-keeping with Elbow's predilection of emotional honesty in their work, like 'Puncture Repair' and 'Some Riot' on previous records.
The majority of the gig comprised of songs from the band's three most recent albums, which early material making fleeting appearances. Indeed, and as you might expect, it was the appearance of tracks from Elbow's Mercury Prize winning breakthrough record 'The Seldom Seen Kid' which drew the most raucous responses from the crowd, particularly the 'Grounds For Divorce', 'Mirrorball' and the blisteringly brilliant 'The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver'.
Throughout the concert Guy Garvey maintained his persona as one of the most down-to-earth and likeable front men in British music. Blessed with the gift of the gab, the 40-year-old Bury native had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout as he continually engaged the audience by introducing those in attendance to his sister, asking for biscuits for drummer Richard Jupp (cue Maryland Cookies being chucked at him).
Elbow have a knack for writing incredibly intricate, yet wholly engaging songs. In Guy Garvey, they have the perfect focal point to bring their music to the masses too. Now that Morrissey has descended into pastiche and while Alex Turner continues to attempt to morph into an Elvis/Josh Homme clone, we're left with Garvey at the forefront of British music and there's no better man for the job.
During show closer 'One Day Like This', Garvey's operatic baritone implores the listener to 'throw those curtains wide' and his voice practically pierced through the overcast Dublin skies and clawed summer back, temporarily at least. Magical.