The general vibe in the Lowlands Festival 2011 crowd suggested that Elbow had to be seen, not just because they were the Saturday night headline act but because there was little else that ticket-holders really wanted to see.
An unprepossessing start perhaps, but the band performed a sublime set which firmly ended the image of them as a perennial support to the likes of Coldplay or Snow Patrol and established them in Dutch minds as a force to be reckoned with in their own right.
Encapsulating why the Dutch opened their hearts to Elbow tonight, lead singer, Guy Garvey, said with real feeling mid-way through the set: “It’s such a pleasure to be here again in this beautiful country”.
A band currently celebrating 20 years together, as they reminded the crowd, Elbow have, unlike many bands seen this weekend, retained an enthusiasm and a genuine gratitude towards their fans which is touching and infectious.
Backed by a string quartet, their sound built to anthemically, especially as they launched into their bigger hits such as ‘Grounds for Divorce and ‘The Bones of You’. Yet it was Guy Garvey’s engagement with the crowd which both entertained and warmed the Dutch.
The polish, poise and humility of Elbow are a shining example of the superiority of bands who have had to genuinely work for their success rather than those instantly transported to the realms of super stardom.
Finishing the set rather predictably with the beautiful ‘One Day Like This’, and never forgetting their roots, “Elbow from Manchester” left the massive crowd singing and smiling as they made their way out.
“I used to think that Elbow were a boring girly band,” said one young male in the audience, “but now I think they’re really good”.
By Emma Downes.