Keane and Longview live on the same bill? Did I make this gig up myself? Two of my favorite acts of the moment played to a packed room at ULU in London last night and it was like a dream come true. Wonderful gig, decent venue and an 8-minute walk home was sure to make this one of the best evenings of the summer. Or at least that's how I felt it would be. Ahhh, London.
The trio fromBattle in East Sussex took the stage at 8 sharp to a fuller-than-expected ULU and wowed the crowd to no end. If anyone hadnít heard Tom Chaplinís vocal delivery prior to this show, they werenít set to forget it anytime soon. Blessed with the voice of an angel and some songwriting skills to boot, the piano-drums-vocal trio blew away the congregated, eliciting whoops and hollers and loud applause after each track. Imagine Puressence with their searing guitar attack replaced by jaunty piano work or Coldplay with a newfound keyboard fixation and you wouldnít be far off. First single "Everybodyís Changing" brought a loud response, as did next single "This Is The Last Time." But for me, itís set closer and "Changing" B-side that takes the cake, all melancholic heartstring pulling and spine chillingly glorious from the first note to the last, especially with Chaplin singing the keyboard bit from the single. Amazing. The band played sold out showcases in NYC and LA earlier this month and their signing is said to be imminent. Then you can bask in the glory that is Keane firsthand and wonít have to take my word for it. But Iím all the better for it. Iíve had a head start.
Headliners Longview took the stage to a completely full building and some new projectors taking up a big chunk of the skyline in the middle of the floor. The projections seemed straight out of the Ride guidebook, circa 1991, all crashing waves and floating leaves, yet it was perfect for the emotive shoegazing splendor that is Longview. Their debut album Mercury dropped last week and is one of my top 3 albums of the year so far. Thursday nightís gig allowed a run through of much of that album and the atmospherics paired with the visuals took the songs to a new high. Opening, surprisingly, with the downtempo love song extraordinaire that is "Electricity," the tone was set, with note-perfect backing vocals and an almost perfect wash of effect-laden guitar. The utterly amazing "Canít Explain" followed and I could have just left then and been happy. However, I stayed for the remainder of the gig and was treated to the wonder that was the other three singles, "Nowhere," the explosive "When You Sleep," and the jangletastic "Further." Rob McVeyís vocals were perfect on the night, his soulful, plaintive tones blending perfectly with the dual guitar attack. The only thing that could have made it any better would have been the bar not running out of Stella. Oh well, I still made out like a bandit. Mad props to Ben Durling for his hospitalityÖ