With their well-padded, hirsute jaws and hefty frames Elbow would easily pass for a sharply dressed road gang. It is an impression totally at odds with the sensitive arrangements, beautiful - almost feminine - melodies and deftly poetic lyrics which they create.
This week the band demonstrated their delicate touch as they became the latest headliners at our monthly London residency Q The Music Club Live At The Hospital Club. Hell, they are so unblokey that they weren¹t even interested in the latest score in the Champions League final which was being played concurrently. Do you want a football update? No chance not on our watch, teased frontman Guy Garvey. Do
you have any idea what it¹s like growing up in a city like Manchester
and not liking football?
Seated on stools for a largely acoustic show the Bury quintet supplemented by viola and violin swept through tracks from latest album The Seldom Seen Kid, as well as delving back to 2000 single Newborn and the evocative widescreen epic Fugitive Motel from second album Cast Of Thousands._In Garvey, Elbow an amiable host. Have you come far? Who is in love? he asks between songs. Is this guitar in tune? No, as it happens, he soon finds after the first line of Newborn, stopping the song dead. I shouldn't have listened to you, he affably scolds the front row. Although their natural audience seems to be drawn from 30-something blokes, the gig also found favour with Hollywood actress Thandie Newton who joined the 200-strong crowd for the perfectly-formed nine-song show.