Upon arriving eight minutes after the gates opened to the lush venue that is Riverstage, I was surprised to see that the masses had already arrived and occupied the venue, which was unlike most gigs held there. This gave me an indication of just how dedicated London Grammar’s fans were. The Brisbane leg of their first official ‘If You Wait’ Australia Tour had sold out along with all of London Grammar’s other shows on the tour, and so it was clear that this performance was going to be special.
Until The Ribbon Breaks kicked off the night to a large, yet unenthused crowd. Lawrie moved around the stage, refusing to let the dead audience get him down, pulling out all different tricks, notably playing trumpet on a number of tracks. They rolled from electronic to R&B with each track and the variance in styles was a welcome sound. Their set came to a close and I honestly hope they score a better crowd at their next Australian stop. They deserve it.
The second band up to the chopping block was Brooklyn based trio Wet. They slipped on stage in super casual clothes and treated the crowd to a nice set of tracks. The wave of people front and centre began to move after the first tracks, and the mood notably shifted throughout Riverstage. The sun dipped and the clouds that threatened rain seemed to dissipate simultaneously, only adding to the crowd’s excitement for London Grammar. Their set seemed to disappear along with the time and before we knew it, London Grammar‘s Dot Major slipped on stage to start their set.
The large portion of punters that refrained from leaving the comfort of the grass and their blankets rushed down to thicken the crowd when Dot Major played his first notes. He was joined on stage by guitarist Dan Rothman and they built the minimalistic music up before screams announced lead singer Hannah Reid’s presence on stage. Rothman was the spitting image of the late Jeff Buckley as he stepped up to the edge of the stage, beaming from ear to ear. Reid began to layer vocals over the music Rothman and Major set up before moving straight into their hit Hey Now. The crowd sung out every word to the band, and by the end of the song Reid seemed much more at ease on stage.
Interlude and Shyer flew past as the 8000+ crowd loved every second of the performance, which was underpinned by a four-piece string section sitting atop a light display behind the band. Reid’s melodies were flawless, and there was no way anyone in the audience wanted their set to end. Major and Reid joked throughout the set that Rothman might take his overshirt off, but the shy guitarist refused with an awkward smile hanging on his face, most likely finding the situation equal parts amusing and embarrassing. He was in front of 8000+ people, after all. Their cover of Kavinsky’s Nightcall was haunting and their main set closed with the crowd favourite Strong.
The band returned to the stage hardly one minute later and Reid sung If You Wait solo, before explaining that she doesn’t like doing encores.
“It feels like I’m lying to the crowd, someone might actually think that’s the end of the show! (laughs) But everyone does it, so…”
With that explanation, the band burst into an extended version of Metal and Dust before leaving the stage for the last time. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure everyone is eagerly awaiting a new album and tour from the young English trio.