@ Fremantle Arts Centre
16/09/17 (Live Review)
Reviewer – Jarrod Henry
English indie pop band London Grammar have carved themselves a dedicated fan base since bursting onto the world stage with their debut 2012 single Hey Now, and Australian audiences have embraced the Nottingham trio across the country thanks to two well crafted albums and a mesmerising live show.
The beautiful grounds of the Fremantle Arts Centre proved an idyllic setting for the band to kick off their Australian tour in support of their latest album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing and the first of two sellout shows under the stars promised to be a truly memorable evening.
It can be a tricky affair when it comes to choosing the ‘correct’ support act for a show. Sydneysiders Mansionair certainly seemed like a good choice as they’ve made no secret about how heavily influenced by London Grammar they are, even going so far as to name their first demo after the band. However it almost seemed as though the band were a little too similar in musical styles to the headliners, and whilst songs like current single Easier went over well with the crowd and the band performed to their best, one couldn’t help but wish for just a little more contrast between the two acts.
The stage was backlit with a red wash, lending a sparse apocalyptic feel as London Grammar took to the stage and the haunting voice of Hannah Reid wafted out over the crowd with opening number Rooting For You before bandmates Dan Rothman and Dominic Major sweetened the song into and achingly beautiful lament. There’s a hypnotic immediacy to the songs, and whilst their compositions are ethereal and spacious and very laid back they still make for a compelling live show. And the crowd loved every minute. Songs like Who Am I and Wasting My Young Years were received enthusiastically, and songs from the new album sat perfectly balanced alongside older tracks.
There’s an underlying sense of the melancholic in the song arrangements, and yet at the same time they’re uplifting, moving, emotionally joyous as well. They achieve an impressively lush and atmospheric sound live for a three piece, with Rothman and Major handling multiple instruments and joined by Reid on piano. Elements of classical music, electronica and dream pop combine to form a wholly unique sound and the simple but effective stage set was augmented by pulse-timed lights and imagery ranging from eclipses to fiery desert scenery (Hell To The Liars) and misty forests (Truth Is A Beautiful Thing).
The biggest crowd response of the night was reserved for Hey Now the first song picked up by Triple J in Australia and the track that broke the band here and the crowd responded enthusiastically, singing along with Reid on every line. Strong was greeted with a similar reaction and was the perfect choice to close out the main set.
Returning to the stage for the first of three encores, the moody Bones Of Ribbon cut through the night air before giving way to Oh Woman Oh Man and Metal & Dust – off their debut EP – finished off the night in style.
London Grammar once again showed Perth why Australian audiences adore them, and here’s hoping it’s not too long before their delicately beautiful soundscapes grace our ears here once again.
AMNPLIFY – DB
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- Jarrod Henry