London Grammar

London Grammar

O2 ABC, Glasgow

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Ken Neil

CAN Jools Holland still be so influential or is it simply that, thanks to the internet, acts of high quality sometimes get the breaks they deserve? Whichever, the devoted, sell-out crowd at the O2 ABC was testament to the impact that London Grammar have made on their short journey from YouTube to major label success.

The sense of anticipation was evident. But could they keep their intimacy and finely-honed production sound in the larger venues that their elevated status now affords them?

Hannah Reid's diamond-clear enunciation rested on a rich velvet bed of lush electronica and understated guitar laid down gently by Daniel Rothman and Dot Major. It spoke of lonely 3am rooms and provided the perfect accompaniment to Wasting My Young Years and Metal & Dust, meditations on the vagaries of relationships and the insecurities of youth.

Here, in a low-lit room full of music, such introspection did not exclude the audience but was inviting. Lazy comparisons have been made between Reid and contemporaries like Florence Welch (of Florence And The Machine fame) but in truth her clarity of tone and delivery has antecedents in a long line of English girl singers going back to the 1960s folk revival. Indeed, London Grammar might be new folk for now people.

There were moments when they seemed too refined, the reins held too tight, and a change of tempo would have been nice.

This was provided by brief forays to a live drumkit by Major that added welcome heft, especially to set closer Shyer. However, rocking out is not what they do; instead they take us to quiet, intimate places and make a large venue seem comfortably small.