Atmospheric and electronic pop trio London Grammar descended from some ethereal space (technically, London) to First Avenue’s Mainroom on Tuesday, performing a show originally rescheduled for last November.
Opener Until the Ribbon Breaks, a fellow U.K. producer/DJ/singer-songwriter, set the tone with his brand of thundering, apocalyptic pop music. His assertive, passionate delivery was striking and complimented his powerful, rhythm-driven style effectively. He spruced up his set by splicing his avant-R&B with a “Run The Jewels” clip.
While an audience member assured the opener, “We came to see you!,” it was clear that London Grammar was the real spectacle as they stoically took the stage one by one.
The trio began its set with its signature sparse, subtle instrumentations and cavernous silences that worked to create a dark ambiance, providing the perfect sonic landscape for Hannah Reid’s divine vocals to soar over and sink into. Before the band headed into their first song, “Hey Now,” they took a few moments to let Reid flex her polished voice and accustom the audience to her rare, impeccable tonality.
The music’s silences and subtleties are integral to London Grammar’s style, and are all the more moving when taken in uninterrupted. When the group played the Varsity last spring, they easily commanded the crowd with their entrancing spell. This time around, the group had some difficulty subduing First Avenue (Minneapolis’ “downtown danceteria”). It is unclear whether this is due to the venue’s characteristic vivacity or it’s simply an indicator of the band’s rising profile. Reid was cheerfully greeted by an enthusiastic (loud) audience member at multiple points during the show, prompting the band to comment on how excitable American fans were.
“We love touring North America, but you guys are so loud!” Reid said.
“We’re honored to be playing an amazing club like this,” guitarist Dan Rothman added.
Reid is a delicate thing, after all. She’s been known to nurse a cup of tea during the set and has had to politely ask audience members to tone down the toking because she’s sensitive to toxins.
The band has toured their 2013 album, "If You Wait," extensively, though, and has experience playing festivals of a much larger scale. That made for some of their more upbeat, charged tracks - such as “Sights” and “Strong” - to go over exceedingly well for the energetic showgoers. This led a particularly wild encore demand to which the band met with album highlight, the touching “If You Wait.” It was performed unbroken by crowd interjection, a testament to the trio’s hypnotic abilities that pacified even First Avenue’s spirited vigor.