Elbow to start off the week. At a concert recorded during the 2001 Reading Festival and preserved for posterity by the BBC. For all the complaints about the current state of affairs in music, the objects of derision appear to be the exclusive property of the mainstream. It certainly does not include Elbow because if anything they, and propelled by the exquisite songwriting abilities of frontman Guy Garvey, have offered further evidence the reservoir of creativity and well-crafted songs is deep and very much alive and well and that songs about the resilience of the human spirit are still around, still vital.
This concert features the band early on. The release of their debut album, Asleep In The Back and this concert, which has them playing the BBC Radio 1 stage at Reading is certainly a harbinger of things to come, but it’s all still fresh and the audience is in the process of discovering them. Even though the band had been together since 1990 as Mr. Soft, they officially became Elbow in 1997. Asleep in the Back was released in May 2001 on V2 Records. The album was written over the course of six years, and contains six rerecorded tracks from the Real World Studios sessions. Asleep in the Back was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize and earned the band a BRIT Award nomination for Best New British Band. Certainly an auspicious start-up.
Hard to imagine they’ve been together a little over 20 years, and have released six additional albums since Asleep In the Back. Since then they’ve gone on to gather numerous awards and a string of critical and artistic successes. And for a band who cites Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and Radiohead as prime influences, I think it’s safe to say they are in good company.
If you’ve only gotten familiar with them recently, have a taste of this early concert and get an idea what the fuss has been all about.
Need I add, play loud?