London Grammar: Academy, Manchester

This large venue was sold out for a set which London Grammar themselves described as “the biggest headline set of their career”. They are widely regarded as the next big thing and have gained vast amounts of recognition and praise in their relatively short career to date. They also added “It is amazing that we have filled it with our fans”.

It is rare to see such a vast crowd, made up almost entirely of students and scenesters, stood still in silent appreciation but that is exactly what happened as they began with ‘Hey Now’. Hannah Reid’s vocals were fragile yet rich, tender and beautiful and she was only just getting warmed up. Her natural beauty combined with the stunning nature of her unique vocal talent proved to be mesmeric and she had large sections of the audience spellbound. She has the ability and range to lay soft, warm tones over the intricate instrumentation but when she wants to she can also release some really powerful belts from her lungs and pin you back to the wall. She displayed both these qualities throughout and especially during “Wasting My Young Years” where she effortlessly switched between the two styles.

Reid is undoubtedly the highlight and unwitting puller of focus but drummer and keyboardist Dot Major and guitarist Dan Rothman create tones and riffs which complement her vocals perfectly. It was a quietly confident performance from the entire band and one which oozed quality and potential. Their album is fantastic and it is easy to see why they have gained such a reputation so early on and this live performance only reinforces that.

The set seemed to be over very quickly when they finished on “Strong” before returning for an encore. Including an encore of “If You Wait” and “Metal & Dust” they only played twelve songs, in most circumstances fans would possibly feel a little short changed but not in this case.

They have only fairly recently released their debut album and tonight was definitely a case of quality over quantity. The audience certainly seemed to have enjoyed every minute of it as they politely soaked in each track before showing their appreciation with huge rounds of applause and cheers as each song finished.

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