Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Snow Patrol, as I blogged enthusiastically after the show, was amazing.

They're not the biggest band around, nor would you ever expect to find yourself crushed amongst moshing fans, but they certainly are awesome live. And you honestly wouldn't expect it, given that their songs aren't exactly anthemic (in the U2 sense) or "anything above 32 bpm" as I put it the of the concert.

The band kicked off the show with If There's a Rocket, Tie me to it from A Hundred Million Suns, before digging into their back catalogue and performing crowd favourites Chocolate and Spitting Games. I was having a generally good time and just pointing out the bigger hits to my friend's date (another member of Snow Patrol's Lonely Hearts Club, as she had also just come out of a relationship, although she had never really listened to the band before), when You Could Be Happy came on. It's an achingly sad song, a song about "everything going wrong" as lead singer and guitarist Gary Lightbody put it, and was one of the reasons why I was hesitant to come to this concert by myself. I mean, just look at the lyrics: You could be happy / And I won't know / But you weren't happy / The day I watched you go. And I was sad... but happy at the same time. The song's incredibly beautiful live, just brimming with emotion and regret, but a strange kind of happiness too, as you realise that the person you've let go is doing much better without you, and, because you love that person, you're happy for them too.

I really like how this photo turned out.

After this, Gary announced it was his mother's and aunt's birthdays and the next song, "a song about everything going right," was for them. And, of course, it was the gloriously uplifting Run. And it was incredible. The whole crowd just swaying and singing along as Gary exhorted us to "light up, light up, as if you have a choice." This song just about made my night. Just thinking about it now, two weeks on, still makes my spine shiver with how beautiful it was.

A couple of songs later, Shut Your Eyes came on. Midway through the song, Gary divided the crowd into two and made us sing along to the chorus. It's a little cheesy, to be sure, but I do like it when the band makes an effort to interact with the crowd, as opposed to going through their enormous back catalogue (The Cure, I'm looking at you). My only complaint about this song was that I had started out recording it on my camera and was then forced to record the entire segment which went on for eight minutes. My arms were really aching by the end of it!

Of course, right after this, it was Chasing Cars so there was no respite for my arms. Chasing Cars was my song of 2006, and still remains among my favourite tunes. I mean, it's all about love, about how one of the greatest pleasures in life is just wasting time doing nothing with the person you love. For a person like me, someone who's so intent on filling up her spare time with experiences and memories, I'll admit that some of the best times I've had have been just spending time, walking, sitting in the park, doing absolutely nothing but enjoying the other person. The incredibly recognisable opening guitar strains never fails to make me stop doing whatever it is I'm doing, and just... listen. And the melody, the way the song builds up from such a quiet beginning to an incredible climactic crescendo... utterly amazing. I only wish my friend would stop making me sing this in karaoke. Just because I love the song doesn't mean I want to mangle it! That's only true of U2 - Stay (and I would add that I sing that quite well).

The enraptured audience

Next up was the band's duet with Martha Wainwright Set the Fire to the Third Bar. She wasn't present, and I can't recall who filled in for her, but the performance was great. Just as dark and dramatic as on the album.

The band concluded with a couple of songs off their most recent album Crack the Shutters and Take Back the City. I much prefer the former to the latter; the former's more in the style of Snow Patrol's previous hits, while Take Back the City's rather more jarring and ordinary.

I like this photo for it's 'scene-within-a-scene' quality.

The concluding song was, of course, Open Your Eyes, my favourite Snow Patrol tune. I can't say anything bad about it, and I've gushed about every other song before this, so I'll just say that their performance of this was very inspiring, and what made me leave the venue on a high. Yes, there was an encore (The Lightning Strikes and You're All I Have, set against an impressive CGI-animated background) but it was this song which absolutely did it for me and catapulted them above Coldplay in my list of favourite bands.

Fine, it's cheesy, but cute.

I did have one wee nitpick. I'd have liked to have heard Signal Fire. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of old material they played. A Hundred Million Suns isn't bad, but I much prefer their earlier stuff.

Edited on April 2nd: I'd totally forgotten that I very much enjoyed Death, the only song I heard the supporting band, White Lies, play. It starts out a little Ulrich Schnauss-y, but then turns into a more typical indie Britpop tune. Listen to it over at My Old Kentucky Blog.

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