Elbow, C Duncan: O2 Apollo, Manchester

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Elbow from Manchester O2 Apollo - picture from artists Facebook

Elbow at Manchester O2 Apollo (credit: artist’s Facebook)

As the Ramsbottom men complete their Mancunian residency, Getintothis’ Craig MacDonald was lucky enough to witness their majesty in the flesh.

They say some things get better with age.

Whether it be wine or long car trips, some things genuinely appear to improve as they mature over time. Based on tonight’s evidence, this could also apply to Elbow, with the now four piece reigniting a spark that some thought had thought had abandoned them.

Although there is no question that the capacity crowd inside Manchester’s Apollo will sing every note and follow Guy Garvey‘s every command, their does remain a sense of curiosity to how tonight will pan out.

Thankfully those concerned by long time member Richard Jupp departing, or their latest work on Little Fictions are soon put at ease, as opener Gentle Storm rolls over us with waves of delicate clicks and synth as the ballad sparks the night off.

Where the set opener provides a glimpse of Garvey‘s more subtle offerings, he and his fellow bandmates remain able to unleash roundhouses of sonic majesty. None more so then on The Birds‘ cacophony of audio nobility, which clatters us with its might.

What does become clear as the night unfolds, is how much more Elbow are more than the burly BBC Radio 6 presenter. He may well be the charming front man and driver of this musical juggernaut, but his bandmates are the fuel that feed the fire.

Although the biggest cheers of the night may well have been saved for firm favourites like Grounds For Divorce, it is reassuring to know that Elbow reman a group that knows when and how to take things up a notch. On tracks like the aptly named Magnificent, they prove how their brilliant musicianship continues to flourish some twenty years into their journey.

Tonight’s headliners may well be some way down the road in their careers, but in comparison supporting act C Duncan is just setting out on his own adventure. The Glasgwegian’s career may only be in its infancy but based on this performance he is already showing that his future boasts a rich wealth of promise.

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He may not be as forthcoming, but based on tonight’s evidence, he is easily capable of playing grand venues like this and holding his own. We fully expect him to return here on scintillating form once more in the years to come.

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