Elbow & Air Traffic at the Avalon on May 9, 2008
Elbow is a perennial sleeper band candidate. Start with the name: Elbow. Next consider some of their album titles: The Seldom Seen Kid, Cast of Thousands, and Asleep in the Back. Zzzzzz–need I say more? And how could I leave out their low key, nondescript appearance on stage? But what makes Elbow really stand out is their sound. The lyrics and instrumentation are restrained, as you may expect, but each song has a way of describing a distinct mood and feel, as well as telling an interesting story. If Radiohead writes for make believe sci-fi movies, Elbow writes for imaginary indie films set in a remote tropical rainforest. Lead singer Guy Garvey’s voice reminds me of a combination between Jimi Goodwin of Doves and Murray Lightburn of The Dears, and acts as the focal point of the band. Tonight was the second time I have seen Elbow at the Avalon (the last time being 2006) and I can confidently say that their live performances ooze the same high quality as their recordings.