There's something about the holidays that make concerts seem more special. Either that, or the fact that I was seeing Coldplay in front of 550 people. One of the two. The London quartet were in town for Alice 97.3's Alice In Winterland radio show and it was a special event, indeed. Any opportunity to see this band is great, but in a space as lovely and cosy as Bimbo's 365 Club, it was that much better.
The only other act on the bill was MCA's up and coming female-fronted rhythmic duo, Frou Frou. Frontwoman Imogen Heap and programmer/keyboardist Guy Sigsworth warmed up the crowd with their Dido meets Kosheen meets Bjork numbers. The group hopes to tour next year with a full band, but for now the duo relies on computers and samplers for the majority of the sounds. No problem, as they have TUNES, which means it doesn't matter where the instruments are generated from. Heap's amazingly rangy vocals are definitely evocative of Bjork meets Alanis and Sigsworth's beats were tight and loud. They saved the best for last, ending their gig with the two best songs from their debut album, Details, first single "Breathe In" and the drum 'n' basstastic "Must Be Dreaming." With that, they left the stage and it was time for the main event to begin.
This was about the sixth time I'd seen Coldplay and they never fail to disappoint. This show was not much different than the August pre-album warm up, although the band did seem very relaxed and there was much banter with the crowd. "In My Place" UK B-side "One I Love" (which the band said, rightly, was their current favorite) and "Clocks" were again amongst the strongest tracks on display, but the intimate environment allowed for some changes. Firstly, Chris Martin decided that since it was a jazz club, he wanted to do a song without any electrical help. So he told the crowd politely to "shut the fuck up," and launched into "Green Eyes" on an acoustic guitar and away from any mics. It was an amazing campfire-esque rendition and one that will hopefully be reprised in the future. Also, for the first time since I've seen them, they were able to rock one of Rush Of Blood To The Head's standout tracks live, "Warning Sign." They had feared that they couldn't do it justice live, but this version, in all its "Lucky Man" by Verve-influenced glory was the star at the top of the holiday show tree. They even indulged the crowd in a few encores, a rarity in the tightly-scheduled radio show world. But it was Coldplay. Should we ever expect anything other than the best?