London Grammar at the Danforth Music Hall

Photos by Neil Van

Truth is a beautiful thing. At least, that’s what London Grammar has touted on their new album, Truth is a Beautiful Thing, a dizzying chapter of their catalogue that ups their trip-hop soundscapes to more pristine, emotive places. With singer Hannah Reid communicating the sentiment, it becomes a lot more compelling.

At London Grammar’s show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, a very sold-out event (including merchandise, save for a handful of vinyls, were absent from the racks), Reid’s vocals were front and center. Opening with “Hey Now” from their debut album If You Wait, Reid’s voice was surreally powerful from the outset.

It wasn’t a disillusion, though. Often compared to singers like Florence Welch, Reid’s handling of her vocals seemed more effortless than others; almost a welcomed bodily quirk, the only consequence being that audience members were in total awe of her. That hour-long performance was an ethereal moment, which only broke when the house lights flickered on.

But for the given hour(ish), the audience escaped. Older songs like “Wasting My Young Years” and “Strong” (a song that they had sung a million times, Reid joked) touched on entry points for many fans. Newer fare, like “Rooting For You” (performed partially a capella) and “Big Picture” were equally well-received, particularly the latter, with its gradual crescendo rhythms.

The expectation was such; Hannah explained that one of their sound guys measured the decibels during their previous tour, and noted that Toronto and Montreal were the two loudest crowds they encountered. Based on Thursday night’s show, one could believe it, particularly when they closed with the warm “Oh Woman, Oh Man” during their encore. Trust us on this one: London Grammar is the definition of live music perfection.

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