Tonight was a perfect summer’s evening for going out to watch a live band, the type you long for during the long, cold, dark winter.
Opening tonight’s show are Oregon duo, The Helio Sequence. From the first notes of ‘Lately’ you’d be tricked into thinking that there are more than two of them on stage, OK I think that the use of loops and laptops helps to create the Wall of Sound effect but it’s a very pleasing sound. Frontman Brandon Summers really puts his all into the songs and the guitar work he plays is very infectious – ‘The Captive Mind‘ is the best example of this. ’Shed Your Love’ is a mild-paced, mellow-mooded song – its a perfect summer’s evening ballad with a dream like quality this goes down really well with the crowd, and prompts Summers to announce “this is the first time we’ve played here and you guys are very kind”. ’Keep Your Eyes Ahead’ – the title track from the bands fourth album – has drummer and second half of the duo Benjamin Weikel smashing his skins like an angst stricken teenager who has the weight of world on his shoulders. The duo close their 35 minute set with’ No Regrets’.
A little after 9 o’clock Keane take to the stage and by this time the room is a heaving cauldron. I look around at the audience to find a mixture of all different ages, this shows the wide appeal the band has. The band launch straight into ‘Back In Time’ from the Night Train EP, the pace is frantic as singer Tom uses every inch of the stage. Then we get the first sing-along of the evening when ’Bend And Break’ is delivered. You can tell singer Tom Chaplin was physically moved “wow I’d almost forgotten what a great crowd Birmingham are “this is the first city we ever sold out back in 2007” as you can imagine the crowd responded to this with chants of “Keano,Keano Keano” reverberating around the room.
At the midpoint in the set Tom hands over vocal duties to Tim Rice-Oxley for a beautiful version of ‘Your Love’. He showed he has a very rich tone to his voice, and when the crowd gave him a wild round of applause singer Tom remarked “ ok that’s enough I wasn’t that good” then stripped down versions of ‘Hamburg Song’ and ‘Clear Skies’ slow the pace down this gives us the chance to hear Tom’s voice as he delivers both songs note- perfect.
‘Everybody’s Changing’ sounds fantastic it has the audience bellowing out the words whilst Tom grins from ear to ear “if you carry on singing like that we’ll be back in Birmingham sooner than you think” he tells us. ‘Is It any Wonder‘ and a few tracks from the EP split the old and new songs in the set. .I think they both sit perfectly together, although a lot of the audience seem to prefer the sing-along tracks.
Keane close their set with the spine-tingling’ Bedshapped’ this was a wonderful spectacle as hundreds of lighters and mobile phone illuminate the way and when Tom stops singing the Birmingham crowd deliver the rest of the song for him “magical” is the only word to describe this memorable moment.
As I make my way to the exit with the rings of “whoah Whoah” in my ears I think that the band delivered a set of quality and were technically excellent, with the added edition of a guitarist this gave the sound a rocky feel.
I would like to thank Keane’s PA ,the lovely Beth Warren for making this review possible.
Back In Time
Bend & Break
The Lovers Are Losing
This Is The last Time
Stop For A Minute
You Haven’t Told Me anything
Is It Any Wonder?
Somewhere Only we Know
Review and photos – Ian Dunn