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Review Wed May 21 2014

Review: Elbow & John Grant @ House of Blues, 5/19

It's been six years since Elbow played Chicago. At the time, they were riding the wave of The Seldom Seen Kid, which took that year's Mercury Prize. Since then, the band have put out two albums and evolved their arty Britpop sound behind the strengths of Guy Garvey's heartfelt lyrics and vocals, and the band's growth as songwriters and performers. But on Monday, all that concerned the sold out House of Blues crowd was hearing the pristine pop that Elbow churns out in spades.

Early in the set, they went often to their recent The Take Off and Landing of Everything album. But once they got to older songs, things naturally began to click with the crowd, from "The Bones of You"'s sweeping chorus to the raw emotion in "Scattered Black and Whites" to the titanic "Grounds for Divorce" singalong. Between those, Garvey was talkative and charismatic, telling short stories that often punctuated points about the next song. To close, they went for "Lippy Kids" and their anthemic "One Day Like This", which a girl in the balcony had been yelling about the last 15 minutes. Even though the latter can be a little repetitive, Elbow's played it so often that they know how to keep it fresh with Garvey encouraging the crowd to sing boisterously.

John Grant may have been relatively unknown, but that may not last long. His imposing presence ingratiated himself to the crowd almost immediately. And it seems like he is taking frontman cues from Guy Garvey on this jaunt across America. His short set (barely a half-hour) featured a nice set of songs, mostly from last year's way underrated Pale Green Ghosts, that feature his best attributes as a writer. The lyrics paint pictures and, even when they're a little goofy, they tug at heartstrings with universal themes. There's a little Richard Buckner in his delivery, too. Unfortunately, the synths that stand out so much in his music came off a little flat on Monday, but it was all that kept his set from being top-notch.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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