Muddy grounds for divorce
The rain may have subsided but the mud was slowly building by the time Elbow arrived at Connect amidst some sunnier...well, less gloomier skies. Guy Garvey led the band on and immediately seemed to capture the mood of the day and weekend. On the surface, Elbow come across as being miserable so and so's but once you get past that veneer, there's a lot of fun and joy lurking underneath.
That's why a track like 'Leaders of The Free World' may come across as a cynical warning about those in power but by the time you have lustily sang along with all of the great melodic sections, you take in what a great song it is. It’s still possible to mix good music with a message and sometimes you wonder why Elbow aren't a bigger band than they are right now. Then you think its better not to over think these matters and just enjoy them whilst you have the chance.
Garvey wasn't indulging in a lot of stage banter, usually asking if the crowd were doing okay in the inclement weather but one or two times he got a bit more involved. With the main stage looking directly at Inverary Castle it’s an obvious topic of conversation (although nothing will top Mike D's ravings at Connect 2007) but Garvey managed a strong intro to 'Grounds For Divorce', ushering in the "Mondays are for drinking with the seldom seen kid" line.
This track is quite probably the song of the year for this writer, definitely top three at the least, and it didn't disappoint, even in the open air. Its intro doesn't mess about, it offers brilliant backing vocals and it merges alcohol with a slight twinge of bitterness, a classic concoction that has lasted through the ages. All of that and the “woah oh woah oh woah oh woah oh woah oh woah oh wooh” section is immense!
These two tracks had already placed Elbow above a great number of the sets already played over the weekend and it allowed the band to cruise a bit for the remaining numbers. Elbow on cruise control are still better than a vast majority of bands but they probably judged the set well with old and new sitting side by side and nothing feeling out of place.
Lines that go on about perfect weather on ‘Perfect Weather To Fly’ may not have been the best lyrics for a muddy festival but its good to look on the bright side and that's exactly what to do with Elbow. They may not seem like the chirpiest guys in town but they served up a great show from start to end which put a smile on most people’s faces.