America, get acquainted with England’s newest musical export, London Grammar. The London-based trip-hop trio played to a sold out audience of tastemakers at The Shelter at Detroit’s Saint Andrews Hall on Saturday night with some special help from opening act, Haerts. London Grammar are currently on the road in support of their 2013 debut album, If You Wait, which has been a top ten hit in the UK, France, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, and Australia among other countries. The band are now setting their eyes on success on US soil.
The centerpiece of London Grammar is the enchanting Hannah Reid whose haunting, yet unbelievably powerful vocals sound just as prodigious live as on record. She is joined by guitarist Dan Rothman and keyboardist and percussionist, Dominic 'Dot' Major. They opened their Detroit performance with the haunting, unforgettable single “Hey Now”, which was a suitable way to introduce themselves to the anxious audience. Reid has an incredibly distinctive voice, which she has trained to deliver unbelievable vocal control which draws comparisons to Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine and Dido. During their Saturday night set, they played the majority of the tracklist of 2013's If You Wait, including the ethereal “Stay Awake”, the percussion assisted “Metal & Dust” and a cover of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall”, which was made popular due to it's use on the soundtrack to the film, Drive. The audience seemed to be astonished by every single track performed throughout the night, especially by the tantalizing “Wasting My Young Years”. After seeing London Grammar live, it’s safe to say that a US breakthrough is imminent, the real question is whether it will come from their current album or upon the release of their sophomore set.
The band has recently played “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and are playing “The Late Show With David Letterman” tonight. Their cover of INXS’s 1987 hit “Devil Inside” is currently featured on the trailer for the new season of HBO's hit show “Game Of Thrones”. This summer the band will play the festival circuit including Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, T In The Park, Fugi Rock, Bestival and they confirmed a Detroit return later in 2014. Noticeably absent from their set was “Help Me Lose My Mind”, their collaboration with Disclosure which served as an introduction to London Grammar to many.
Haerts (yes, that’s the correct spelling) opened the evening with a brief set of their brand of melodic synth-pop. Haerts released their 4 song EP Hemiplegia last year and played the first installment of Detroit’s Laneway Festival last September. Lead singer, the gorgeous Nini Fabi, seems to channel Stevie Nicks with her rasp inflicted delivery style. Their set included “Wings”, “Hemiplegia”, “Call My Name” and “All The Days”. The only fault with the band as of now stems from a lack of material, but the solution to that will come in time. All of their material contains complex songwriting and intricate melodies which take you on a dreamy voyage upon listen. Haerts are one of my personal favorite young bands of the moment, as soon as their debut album sees release expect big things to happen with them.