Elbow – Bridington Spa gig review – March 2017 “A joyful and uplifting experience.”

Elbow bridlington spa mirrorball

Bridlington isn’t the kind of place that you first think of when you think about places known for hosting the best bands in the country. But the Bridlington Spa was a perfect venue to house Elbow and their soaring soundscapes, full of beauty, charm and warmth – just like the band.

Guy Garvey runs the show

I get the feeling that, without the band or the songs, Guy Garvey could just stand on the stage and talk to the audience for a couple of hours without much problem. In between songs he tells jokes, teases his bandmates, gets the crowd going and orders his next drink. He comes across as completely down to earth and the kind of person you’d happily spend an afternoon with down the pub.

He’s not just some ordinary man-on-the-street type though, he’s actually an incredible performer. He orchestrates his band, the technicians offstage and the audience and holds everything together from the front of the stage. His voice is smooth, soulful and moving as he works his way through the band’s impressive back catalogue.

Guy Garvey dancing onstage at Bridlington Spa

Songs from “Little Fictions” sit well with old favourites

The setlist in Bridlington was well chosen. A good mix of old favourites, more obscure songs from their back catalogue and a sprinkling of their new ones. I was pleased that they played plenty of their old classics but I also enjoyed the songs from their new album too. Despite being together for so many years they are still making new and interesting songs.

Magnificent was my personal favourite from the new stuff, sounding like classic Elbow but also fresh and new too. All Disco was pretty good though, and got the crowd singing along, which you don’t always see when bands are playing their more recent music.

One day like this

I had the pleasure of seeing the Happy Mondays play back in the nineties. They finished by playing Step On, which Shaun Ryder introduced by saying “I hate this f*cking song” and looked thoroughly miserable as Bez bounced around the stage. The point I’m making is that having one song that you’re most known for can become a burden to some bands.

Elbow’s equivalent is One Day Like This, the anthem that they closed the main part of the show with. Guy Garvey didn’t show any signs of being tired of playing his biggest hit though. He threw himself in and led the crowd in an epic singalong which had the majority of the venue bellowing the famous lines back at the singer.

Bridlington Spa as a gig venue

The posters around the Spa advertised upcoming shows that didn’t seem to quite match with Elbow. They’ve got Billy Pearce in panto, a tribute act to a long-dead act from the sixties and Ken Dodd coming up in the next few months. So this isn’t the kind of venue that regularly hosts bands that are still producing new and interesting work (sorry Doddy!).

It’s a great venue for music. As you’d expect with this kind of place, it’s beautifully decorated and the acoustics are perfect. The layout of the room is such that it’s possible for lots of people to get into decent positions. I was sat up on the second row of the balcony and had an excellent view of what was going on.

It was also nice to go see a band by the seaside. There are plenty of cheap B&Bs nearby, a nice beach to walk on, and a significant number of fish and chip shops (between songs Guy Garvey suggested the chips consumed in Bridlington that day could stretch around the world a few times).

Elbow on stage in Bridlington Spa

Overall opinion – 88 out of 100

Elbow in Bridlington was an excellent experience. I found myself grinning like an idiot as I sat back and enjoyed them working through their impressive range of songs. Each evoking a range of different emotions within me.