By John Curley
There is an old saying that goes as follows: “The best things in life come to those who wait.” This certainly was true of London Grammar’s twice-postponed concert at New York City’s Terminal 5 that took place on Wednesday, January 28th. The show had originally been scheduled for November 11th and was pushed to January 27th by the band’s management due to scheduling conflicts. On January 27th, the band were stranded in snowbound Boston, where they had performed the night before. They were unable to get to New York City for the scheduled show, so it was moved to the following night. It was worth the wait, as London Grammar’s show on the 28th was absolutely spellbinding. Lead vocalist Hannah Reid, a superstar in the making, had the crowd in the palm of her hand from the first notes of the opening song, an extended version of “Hey Now.”
In addition to Reid on lead vocals, London Grammar also feature Dominic ‘Dot’ Major on keyboards, drums, and djembe and Dan Rothman on guitar. Reid played keyboards on two songs, “Interlude” and “If You Wait.”
At the Terminal 5 show, London Grammar were augmented by a four-piece, all-female string section. The string section added additional heft to many of the songs, particularly “Wasting My Young Years.”
London Grammar, still touring behind their debut album If You Wait, appear more confident onstage now than they did at their previous New York City show, which was at Irving Plaza in April 2014. They spoke to the crowd more at the Terminal 5 show and didn’t seem taken aback by the raucous reaction of the New York City crowd as they had been at Irving Plaza. It was genuinely exciting to be at the Terminal 5 show, which was packed, because the audience had the collective feeling that we were watching a band on the ascendance. They will probably be playing larger venues when they tour for their next album, so it was kind of special to see them at a concert hall the size of Terminal 5.
London Grammar’s 60-minute set contained numerous highlights. The crowd roared throughout the opening song, “Hey Now.” The performance of “Wasting My Young Years” was moving, powered by the string section and Reid’s impeccable vocals. “Sights,” “Nightcall,” “Strong,” “If You Wait,” and the closing song, “Metal & Dust” left the audience cheering at the top of their lungs. Major was drumming up a storm toward the end of “Metal & Dust” and that had the crowd at the front near the stage jumping up and down.
I did hear some grousing from audience members on the way out of the show that London Grammar’s set wasn’t long enough. Considering that they are still touring on their debut album, I had to disagree with that complaint. I’d rather see them perform great live versions of the tracks from their album instead of the band extending them just to fill more time or attempt cover versions of songs that might not be a good fit for their very unique style. The one cover that they did perform at Terminal 5, “Nightcall” by Kavinsky (from the soundtrack to the film Drive), was spectacular, and it is one of the tracks on their album.
I’m curious to hear what London Grammar will come up for their second album, since their debut disc is so good. They seem like a band that is going places, that know what they are doing, so there likely won’t be a sophomore jinx when it comes to their next album.
The UK-based dance-pop trio Until The Ribbon Breaks opened the Terminal 5 show. Their 30-minute set received a very good reaction from the sold-out house.
London Grammar’s set list at Terminal 5 was as follows:
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me
Wasting My Young Years
Nightcall (cover of song by Kavinsky)
If You Wait
Metal & Dust