grand drive

21 05 2003

Hammersmith Lyric Theatre
21.05.2003

I have to say this was a gig like none I’d been to before. Mainly because I was sat down, and not because the standing tickets were sold out, but because everyone was sat down. And no-one was moving. But that’s because everyone was absolutely spellbound.

Personally I’m not sure of the authenticity of pedal-steel-soaked country by men from Sutton, but there’s no questioning the soulful lyricism in songs like opener You and I. This ornate theatre is the perfect setting for the soaring melodies and delicate guitar that manages to be both soaring and winsome. Tonight they’re augmented by lilting strings and there’s also a guest appearance from a female vocalist who looks terrified but
sounds gorgeous.

The whole set is as polished as the shiny guitar head that sends pencil-thin shafts of light into the blue smoke, and it’s engaging throughout if not always riveting. At the start of Firefly they announce “This is where we rock” but this actually just means they introduce an electric bass halfway through.

In fact Grand Drive live never get above a polite stomp, but when they do – on shimmering hoedown Needle in the Groove it’s pretty exhilarating stuff. The grown-up audience brings a sense of cosy intimacy that allows Grand Drive to shine.

And I was on the last train home, too.

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