Elbow 7th May 2024 Brighton Centre.

Words: Kairen Kemp

May 2024



The Brighton Centre is heaving as the gig is sold out and despite a rail strike most have made it to the event. There’s a feeling of very happy, excited expectation in the air.

The night opens with The Waeve – Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall (couple and parents in ‘real life’) plus band – and ‘Can I Call You’. Dougall’s voice is strikingly deep, doomy and delicious at the slow tempo start before the track breaks into a frantic rock number.  Unfortunately ‘Kill Me Again’ was curtailed after two false starts due to technical problems with a sampler.

They describe their music as “a liquid meeting of musical minds and talents. A powerful elixir of cinematic British folk-rock, post-punk, organic songwriting and freefall jamming.”  The music is complicated but some of the intricacies were lost in the Brighton Centre space which is a great shame because this is intelligent, brave alchemy.  I look forward to listening to their eponymous album to hear their ‘true’ sound.

This was the first night of Elbow’s ‘Audio Vertigo’ UK tour, celebrating their new album of the same name which is (the first since 2021) two days after a warm-up gig in Hull.

Elbow’s long career dates back all the way to 1997. The band is made up of Guy Garvey (lead vocals, guitar), Craig Potter (keyboard, piano, backing vocals), Mark Potter (guitar, backing vocals), Pete Turner (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Alex Reeves (drums) “new boy” says Guy only having been with the band for 8 years!

On this tour, the first since 2021, they are joined by a female brass section, string players and percussionists who also deliver BVs. It is astonishing. Cate Carter’s lighting design is stunning and a perfect match to the powerful, rocking feel of this show. A complicated, adjustable, flying light rig enables the most intricate changing lighting design. The use of live filming from the stage projected onto the back screen, sometimes layered on top of another image such as an industrial skyscape. It’s truly breath taking.

The whole of the 20 track set was astounding – powerfully, exhilarating with Guy Garvey immediately engaging totally with his audience.  One song performance that really stood out for me because of its genuine emotion was the stripped down delivery of ‘Puncture Repair’ with Craig Potter, his oldest friend and band member. It was a heartrending, totally relatable, celebration of friendship. 

Another particularly stunning moment was Jessica Hoop’s pure,otherworldly vocal on the outro to ‘Dexter & Sinister’.  There was a beat before the auditorium exploded into applause and cheering.

Near the end Garvey leans down from the stage to talk to an audience member right in front of the stage who has been singing along, throughout, at the top of his voice. We learn he is called Rory and is clearly younger than his stated 12 years. It’s his second live gig (the first being the Red Hot Chilli Peppers we’re told) apparently and he’s totally charmed GG as he refers to him several times.  He even invents a ‘Rory’ blues line, which the whole audience sings, leading into ‘There’s A Hole In The Neighbourhood’. Utterly sensational and something that young Rory will never forget.

As they have been throughout the audience sung along with ‘One Day Like This’ a thrilling and stonking end to a great show which delighted everyone not least young Rory and Alison, who had travelled down alone from Reading sitting next to us.  Her broad smile summed up the whole night. 


  1. Can I Call You
  2. Kill Me Again (technical issues with a sampler caused it to be abandoned)
  3. Drowning
  4. City Lights
  5. Sleepwalking
  6. Song For Eliza May
  7. You Saw
  8. Druanthia




  1. Things I’ve Been Telling Myself For Years
  2. Lover’s Leap
  3. The Bones Of You
  4. Mirrorball
  5. Charge
  6. Fly Boy Blue/Lunette
  7. The Picture
  8. Dexter & Sinister
  9. Balu
  10. Puncture Repair
  11. Kindling
  12. The Birds
  13. Good Blood Mexico City
  14. Station Approach
  15. My Sad Captains
  16. Magnificent (She Says)
  17. Grounds For Divorce


  1. Lippy Kids
  2. One Day Like This



Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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