Tfronky’s October road trip – Hello Los Angeles and more important, Hello Elbow!

Elbow and DeVotchKa live at the Greek Theatre 10-1-2011Hello everybody,

It is early Friday morning, September 30, and I am all packed and ready to go to Los Angeles for the weekend. Considering how much I dislike this city it takes a lot to get me to go there without just cause. The greatest band in the world is playing tomorrow evening at the Greek Theatre. Nuff’ said.

I have experienced Elbow live in concert one other time, back on May 12, 2008 at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, Colorado. At the end of this post I will post a copy of the review I did of that concert. The review was originally posted on a blog for a company I used to work for but f them, that review was mysteriously deleted from that site almost two years ago. 😉 That concert is STILL the best concert I have ever attended, part of the 2008 tour for the band’s Mercury Award winning Album of the Year for The Seldom Seen Kid.

elbow - build a rocket boys!The band is currently touring in support of its fifth album build a rocket boys! Needless to say I have stoked for this show for weeks. This whole month I have been posting a song a day from Elbow on my Facebook page. I have listened to Asleep in the Back, Cast of Thousands, Leaders of the Free World, The Seldom Seen Kid, The Seldom Seen Kid Live at Abbey Road and build a rocket boys! over and over and over. I have been telling people for weeks this band is a must-see on tour. Truth be told, I have never been this excited about one band and that includes more than a couple of decades proclaiming Echo and the Bunnymen was the best band of all-time. Was by the way …

Folks, I won’t waste your time trying to convince you. If you have listened to these guys and can truly claim they are not only incredible but absolutely essential, then nothing I say or have written will convince you. However, if you have not checked them out please do! Here is a good starting point:

  1. Starlings (The Seldom Seen Kid)
  2. The Bones of You (The Seldom Seen Kid)
  3. Fallen Angel (Cast of Thousands)
  4. Lippy Kids (Build a Rocket Boys!)
  5. The Everthere (Leaders of the Free World)
  6. Scattered Black and Whites (Asleep in the Back)
  7. Great Expectations (Leaders of the Free World)
  8. Grounds for Divorce (The Seldom Seen Kid Live at Abbey Road)
  9. Neat Little Rows (Build a Rocket Boys!)
  10. One Day Like This (The Seldom Seen Kid)
  11. Newborn (Asleep in the Back)


  1. Station Approach (Leaders of the Free World)
  2. Powder Blue (Asleep in the Back)
  3. Puncture Repair (Leaders of the Free World)
  4. Open Arms (Build a Rocket Boys!)
  5. Grace Under Pressure (Cast of Thousands)

For the uninitiated that is Volume III of We Still Believe in Love So Fuck You. No it is not an official Elbow compilation, but it is an official Tfronky mix. 🙂 If you would like an explanation of that mix title, read this post from October 12, 2010.

I look forward to seeing lots of friendly faces there, really happy with the number of people who I know making this road trip to see Elbow. Bobby, you really suck for not going.

I will leave all of you with a couple of gifts. One, I found on YouTube a copy of the B-side to the first single “Neat Little Rows” from build a rocket boys!, “Ticker Tape”. A giant departure from much of the band’s current work but an excellent song nevertheless. This song would have fit quite well on the band’s first album Asleep in the Back.

Second, if you interested here is every single Musings post with any substantial material regarding Elbow. I should just make you search for it but I am in such a wonderful mood because of the concert. Enjoy!

  1. Here we go! How about we start with a list of favorite bands? – 11/12/2009
  2. Best Albums of 2009! – 12/27/2009
  3. Elbow once again gives their fans something to tide them over in a big way until the new studio album, the reissue of “Asleep in the Back”! – 1/15/2010
  4. Top 40 Albums at the age of 40! – 1/26/2010
  5. 21 years. How about Tfronky’s Picks for the Best 21 Songs of the Past 21 Years? – 4/24/2010
  6. Is Elbow the best band in the world right now? – 10/12/2010
  7. build a rocket boys – The fifth album from Elbow is on the way! – 12/26/2010
  8. Best Albums of 2010 … and a little more – 1/2/2011
  9. Elbow – Neat Little Rows – 1/14/2011
  10. Elbow – Neat Little Rows – how about the video this time! – 1/31/2011
  11. Yes it stinks that in the US we have to wait for Build a Rocket Boys from Elbow … – 3/7/2011
  12. How about a review of Build a Rocket Boys from Elbow?! – 5/6/2011
  13. Tfronky’s List of Top Eleven Underrated Bands – 9/6/2011

This post makes #14 and just so happens to be the 99th Musings. I may as well tell you once I saw I was close to 100 I held off on a couple of posts to make the concert review from tomorrow night post #100.

Well, it is time to get going my friends. Travel and sleep at the hotel today, concert tomorrow and the drive home Sunday. A quick weekend but well worth it. As good as the Agent Orange and Psychedelic Furs shows were this year, and as good of a concert as I think the Chameleons Vox show will be in November, I do not see any concert topping what I believe will occur tomorrow night.

Here is that concert review from May 2008. Cheers!

“Part I of the Colorado Trip – Elbow at the Bluebird Theatre!
May 12, 2008
First, I have to apologize to anyone that has actually been waiting for this review. I got hit with some crazy sinus infection upon my return to Phoenix, so last week I was not in the most creative mood. Second, I need to apologize to the band directly. As good as this show was, I should have reviewed it the second I returned to my hotel so everything would still be fresh in my head. I’ll give it my best shot, okay?

This show was the primary reason I made this trip. Elbow had become one of my favorite bands during the past year and a half and I was completely bummed they were not stopping in Phoenix. It is becoming quite a means of distress for me; Swervedriver IS going to be playing in Denver and at this point not in Phoenix. I am getting tired of that.

Anyway, let’s focus … First off, the Bluebird Theatre is absolutely wonderful! Back in the eighties there was a very cool venue in downtown Phoenix called the Palace West. Bluebird is basically the same thing; a converted historic movie-house that today serves as a great music venue. I was entranced by the decor inside, particularly what I assume were lion heads adorning the sides of the venue. The venue is tiered, so it really does not matter where you stand, you will have a good view of the stage. I planted myself right in front of the soundboard, which was about 2/3 from the front of the stage to the back of the bar.

Another apology; opener Air Traffic sounded great, but I did not see enough to give a proper review. What little I heard I can definitely recommend!

After about 20 or so minutes, the lights went off and two women strode onstage. They came out to “Starlings”, the first track on Elbow’s latest disc, The Seldom Seen Kid. If you don’t have it, please do yourself a favor and go get it. Don’t just download it, physically go to your favorite independent record store (Stinkweeds if you are in Phoenix) and buy it. Lead singer Guy Garvey made a great point during the show that within three years all music will be free and touring will be the only way for bands to make money anymore. Let us help delay that for a while. Buy the artist’s discs!

Again, I digress.

The two women began to sing along to “Starlings”, then the five members of the band strode onstage to eager applause. I noticed they were each carrying something that looked like a … trumpet? So that is how they will create that sound live. “Starlings” starts out very subdued and the organ just glides along until all of a sudden … BAM … a thunderous roar of horns. To see the band create that live was a spectacular introduction, and the beginning of a spectacular evening.

What is it about the soundmen in Colorado? All the soundmen in Arizona need to go to there for a month and learn how to work the soundboard at a show correctly, because once again the sound was crystal clear. Very important for any show, but critical when you are watching a band like Elbow live. Richard Jupp plays a very precise and technical set of drums, Pete Turner plays a smooth bass, Craig Potter adds in beautiful musicianship on keyboards and organ, Mark Potter does a dynamite job playing both a subdued and at times fiery lead guitar, and Guy Garvey on acoustic guitar and above all, the BEST vocals in the music business today. Bar none. Period.

The band led off with the first two tracks off their latest disc, then began to mix in tracks from Asleep in the Back, Cast of Thousands and Leaders of the Free World. The audience was given a generous helping of music, playing 14 or 15 songs by my count. Once again, I apologize for a lack of exact information there.

It was a wonderful mix of songs from all four discs. Standouts for this fan were every song, but if I had to narrow it down I would pick “Scattered Black and Whites” from Asleep in the Back, “Station Approach” and “Leaders of the Free World” from Leaders of the Free World, and “Starlings”, “Grounds for Divorce” and the crowd sing-a-long by Guy Garvey request “One Day Like This”.

There are two more songs to add to that list, but these are singled out for special recognition. About midway through the show Guy Garvey pulled out a bar stool and his acoustic guitar, then the band began to play “Newborn” from their first disc. This is a truly beautiful song and a stellar showcase of this man’s vocal prowess. The song is very quiet, very mellow, but once the band begins to pick away at the instrumental part midway through you can feel and hear the intensity start to build. When Guy jumps back in and just begin to wail and the band turns up the power … folks, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced at a show. I almost began to cry, it was that intense and beautiful.

Guy is an engaging frontman, something I did not expect. He has a great sense of humor, was asking the crowd in between most songs “Is everyone still okay?”, was beaming at the crowd the entire show and took on a drunk patron very well. First he referred to the idiot as a “cowboy” and talked about the “football crown” he was wearing, then cut the guy down to size even more reminding him he could not be too tough if “you came to a gig like this”. Brilliant!

Guy even played up the whole “this is where we tell you it’s our last song, then we walk off and wait for you to clap and yell until we come back” routine by instead requiring the crowd to pick a song to sing while the band was offstage, then they would come back. Once again, brilliant! Too bad the crowd, including me, butchered our rendition of “Wheels on the Bus”, but it was a great time.

Elbow played three songs during the encore and ended a phenomenal evening with the inspiring “Grace Under Pressure” from Cast of Thousands. This song is meant to be played live and the band plays it with tremendous passion. If you have a chance, go to YouTube and find the Elbow performance at the Glastonbury Festival for this song. I won’t give things away, but let’s just say that Guy Garvey made a point of ending this Denver performance with the now-legendary “We still believe in love …” line that has a very poignant second half to it.

There was not one single flaw to this performance. I left the Bluebird Theatre in utter awe, blown away by what I just had the fortune and privilege of witnessing. Elbow does not simply put on a concert; they put on an event. That was a truly special evening. I still have chills from that show.

I guess one of these days I am going to have to venture overseas to Manchester. Something must be in the water over there. Folks, go buy any Elbow disc you can find. I love this band, I hope you will as well.

The Dust Devil”

Elbow at the 2011 Mercury Awards


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