London Grammar review: Captivating beauty at the Apollo

Hamish MacBain
Strong showing: London Grammar's Hannah Reid: Angela Lubrano/Livepix

“If you want rowdy,” smiled Hannah Reid as applause for an ethereal Hell To The Liars rose from polite to just-about-rapturous, “you’ve probably come to the wrong gig.”

This was an understatement. Live, London Grammar continue to offer little beyond Reid’s showstoppingly beautiful voice and the hushed atmospherics of their songs. They played in front of still, desktop background-style visuals, and by way of a light show had two horizontal strips that occasionally came to life.

Multi-instrumentalist Dominic “Dot” Major and guitar player Dan Rothman, meanwhile, took perhaps six steps between them all night: the latter speaking once at the end of Rooting For You, to pour praise on Reid’s performance.

The song, released on New Year’s Day this year, heralded her band’s comeback and went on to serve as the opener of their second, chart-topping album, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing.

By way of introduction, Reid explained that she had this time tried to write less challenging material to sing (she has spoken of suffering from both stage fright and inflamed vocal chords while touring their first album, If You Wait), but then came up with its perilously high chorus.

“My manager is going to be really annoyed with me, because she doesn’t want me to sit down,” she concluded, “but I’m going to sit down, because I’m tired, and I want to get it right.”

Reid did get it right, and the reaction from both Major and the sold-out hometown crowd seemed to buoy her confidence. The band’s single Strong, now four years old, followed, and by its end she was striding along the mouth of the stage, leading a singalong and joking that she felt like Justin Timberlake.

In truth she was a polar opposite, but all the more captivating for it.