On Tuesday 19th March 2019, David Gray arrived in Brighton, in support of his latest album release, Gold In A Brass Age. He performed an incredible, 2-hour set at Brighton Dome and was supported by L.A. Salami. Here’s our thoughts on the event…
L.A. Salami was a fantastic, soulful, folky and witty singer-songwriter who’s clearly honed his talent. His crisp voice, annunciated every word with clear precision and told a story, like that of a performance poet. His way with words must have been painstakingly crafted to create his art and his tales are intriguing. Also, his use of just a guitar and harmonica somehow manage to produce a rather full sound.
His stage persona is quite understated and there are some imperfections in his performance but somehow this is quite endearing. He was certainly an interesting and captivating support…plus his style (and hair) is pretty cool!
Highlight: I particularly enjoyed his final song which began with him telling an anecdote of how it came about, after meeting a wise man on a beach in Normandy whilst high on acid; the audience rang with laughter.
As David Gray took to the stage, rapturous applause erupted from the audience and he launched straight into a string of tracks from his latest album, Gold In A Brass Age, showcasing just how much his sound and style has evolved since his career-launching album, White Ladder (first released back in 1998).
His new sound is electronically dynamic and truly envelops the audience, with atmospheric sounds, powerful harmonies and a diverse set of instruments played by him and the band. It sounds strange, but there’s something beautiful about the tracks of his new record, that give off an almost autumnal feel – they’re warm and crisp and give an audible sensation of swirling around you – it’s quite remarkable.
One thing you can’t help but marvel at throughout his performance, is his truly unique use of a loop pedal, with which he builds up the base for quite a few songs; some had various, layered guitar melodies, another he created a distorted vocal wail through the microphone built into an acoustic guitar and at one point he even made some vocal harmonies for him to collaborate with himself – sensational!
He began by stating, “We’ll start off with the new music,” and shared several tracks from the new album (‘Hall Of Mirrors’, ‘If 8 Were 9′ and ‘A Tight Ship’ particularly stood out), before thanking the audience for lending their ears to them. He then delighted the crowd by saying, “We’re going to dig deep,” leading on to a string of his old hits (‘Sail Away’, ‘My Oh My’, ‘The Other Side’, ‘Babylon’ and ‘Please Forgive Me’), that had the audience standing, cheering and singing along at the top of their voices – it was beautifully nostalgic.
The set clocked in at the 2-hour mark, which is pretty amazing for a concert these days and just goes to show not only the vast back catalogue he has, but the dedication he puts in to giving his audience something substantial to get into.
Being honest, I didn’t know much of his more recent music before last night, but having witnessed the wonderful performance I did, I will most definitely be getting copies of his last few records to get up to speed, and can’t recommend highly enough, watching him play live – he puts on an immaculate and rather rousing show!
- The use of a loop pedal throughout his set is something wonderful to witness, particularly how he seamlessly switches back and forth between his guitar and keyboard, to build a track up.
- The sheer effortless power, soulfulness and aching melancholy behind his vocal is passionate and all-consuming.
- His new sound is progressive and actually quite incredible – I’ll definitely check out the new record! And, actually, when you see him live, you realise quite how electronic his sound (both old and new) is, in places and that there’s actually some dance music elements behind some of his material.
- Gray’s rather awkward dancing and twitching around on stage is actually pretty endearing!
- His personality is very modest and relatable and probably goes a long way towards his rather broad and loyal fanbase; it might also explain why so many people were comfortable shouting out support to him, between songs.
Gold In A Brass Age
Hall Of Mirrors
Watching The Waves
A Tight Ship
If 8 Were 9
My Oh My
The Other Side
The One I Love
Back In The World
Birds Of The High Arctic
Please Forgive Me*
* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.
Finally, I want to say a big thank you to Rob from Sonic PR for enabling this review to happen, and to both David Gray and L.A. Salami for their incredible performances.