London Grammar lit up Spark Arena last night with a soaring performance that let their seamlessly nuanced pop/trip-hop to take centre stage. James Vincent McMorrow set the tone of the night with his stunning vocals; a high-profile artist in his own right, he commanded the kind of focus and response from the crowd that opening acts often struggle to maintain at arena concerts.
Dressed in relaxed shades of black and blue streetwear, Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dot Major began with a stunning rendition of their stripped-back single Rooting For You (about half an hour late due to a technical issue, which they profusely apologised for multiple times). Reid's staggeringly powerful vocals silenced the entirety of Spark Arena, the crowd holding on to every last note; I was initially unsure whether the band would be able to fill the venue - but their music is without a doubt suited to the size and grandeur of an arena. The crowd was rather still, even during their more upbeat numbers, but the trio managed to keep the night feeling lively.
Reid reportedly struggled with stage fright while the trio were touring their first album, but if she experienced any on-stage nerves last night, they didn't show. Reid and her bandmates were warm and cheery between songs, while Reid alternated between sitting at her piano and walking around the stage, encouraging the crowd to sing along.
London Grammar are masters at creating lush, hypnotic soundscapes, and the trio's skill and expertise meant these translated beautifully on stage - that they were able to perform such expansive, cinematic songs without any extra band members is extraordinary. The crowd was cheering feverishly for an encore at the end, which we were granted; and even though Reid herself said encores are a "silly lie" - because we all know they're coming back on anyway - three more songs felt like three generous, dreamy gifts.