Sunday, April 23, 2006

Elbow, 4.20.06, Webster Hall

by Charlotte Deaver

Elbow might seem a little too slick for some. They can come across as such stable fellows, such mature pros, and their songs require precision from each instrument for their music to be as effective as it can. This is partly because although you want to notice the band, what you really want to do is close your eyes and focus on Guy Garvey's voice. I think he might have the most beautiful, perfect male voice on the planet. Okay, hyperbole, I know, but this is a blog, for god's sake! And that's how it feels when I'm listening to him. His voice just kills me.

Elbow's set at Webster Hall on Thursday night was very similar to the one at Hiro Ballroom last year (read my post from November here). This time, though, Guy was ambulatory (he had hurt his leg and was using a cane last time, when he walked at all), and the venue was, of course, completely different. Hiro is pretty small, more of a showcase venue, and allows for intimacy that a band isn't going to play Webster to achieve, while Webster is closer to an arena-type venue. It's kind of merciless; it likes to swallow bands up, which it often does, but if you get over at Webster you can probably play anywhere.

It didn't, as I was a little concerned might happen, swallow up Elbow. They had us hollaring for more, from way up front to way, way back. I was lucky enough to make the rounds of the club throughout the set, and except for one moment when Guy tried to get everyone clapping (I winced a little at that), their performance, their material, and Guy's voice were making our little world inside Webster Hall that night very happy.


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