“It’s Monday! So. Um, maybe I’ll play some more music.” With lines like that, it’s frequently apparent that Sam Beam was not the most confident when speaking between tracks. He made sure before playing a note to efficiently set out the premise of the show at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire on Sunday, October 10th, though. His previous London show was the “quiet one,” and this was the “not so quiet one.”
This meant a full band complete with a horn section and almost all songs played with meandering jazzy arrangements, which took them a distance away from the sound that initially brought him attention. The horn blasts and full on sound meant that there were long periods where the musicianship was impressive, but there was not much in the way of song to grab on to. However, the approach actually eventually paid dividends, not just from the crashing power that the climaxes reached, but also because of the contrast that resulted.
Hushed moments like the verse in new album track “Rabbit Will Run” with lyrics about pig piss suddenly stood out as intimate and intense in a way that they never would in a whole show delivered in that manner, even if they were few and far between.