Elbow turn Other Voices into a love-in with a surprise gig

Guy Garvey’s voice and warmth make for a five-star Electric Picnic experience

Elbow perform a surprise gig on the Other Voices stage at Electric Picnic. Photograph: Shilpa Ganatra

Elbow perform a surprise gig on the Other Voices stage at Electric Picnic. Photograph: Shilpa Ganatra

 

Elbow

Other Voices

*****

Once Guy Garvey’s unmistakable voice is heard in the woods, it takes about zero seconds for the Other Voices area to overflow. For Sunday’s very special guests on the stage are . . . Elbow, playing to a crowd a fraction of the size of their evening Main Stage audience.

Ordinarily, Guy’s personable approach can make a field feel like a living room, so an Elbow performance in front of just a couple of hundred people feels less like a show than a serendipitous love-in.

When it’s song time, the group effortlessly delivers dreamy melodies, with all of the experience of their 26 years as a band.

In between, Guy jibes and jokes with the crowd, with individuals and with band members, holding court with the sweaty audience with tales of Dingle and explanations of songs.

He even interrupts an energised Grounds for Divorce intro on account of a “really good story”.

Far from a best of, the performance is a chance for their more considered tracks to get a look-in; the closer is Scattered Black and Whites, delivered with such gentleness that it’s impossible not to receive its nostalgic warmth.

For a band familiar to Electric Picnic audiences, it was a well-chosen way to stay at the forefront of our minds.

“Thank you very much for coming,” Guy says, raising a hand to the crowd. “I hope you’ll be around later . . . to hear the songs again.”

In three words: Surprised and delighted

If you liked this see: Elbow, as requested