Live Review: Keane at Westonbirt Arboretum – Friday 18th June 2010

By on Sunday, 20th June 2010 at 7:15 pm
 

Whilst much of England was in the pub on Friday night, I decided to do something a bit different and made the trek to the stunning Westonbirt Arboretum to see Keane play to a sell out crowd. It was my fifth time seeing them, having caught them at Tsunami Relief, Live8, in Toronto on the Hopes and Fears Tour and then last February on the Perfect Symmetry Tour. Each time they’ve been better, more confident and played bigger venues.

The heavens opened as soon as we got to the main arena, set in a clearing of the stunning arboretum, and settled in to catch Everything Everything. Having already caught them on the NME Radar tour at Bristol’s Thekla, I must say that I still wasn’t that impressed with them live – though it may just have been due to the rainwater slowly soaking me through.

Next up were Portland, Oregon’s Helio Sequence. With just two in the band, drummer Benjamin Weikel and guitarist Brandon Summers, I must admit I was expecting some simple White Stripes / Ting Tings style stuff. However, they managed to create some pretty impressive indie pop, much the sort of stuff you’d expect to soundtrack (500) days of Summer or other such indie films, and were the perfect compliment to Keane.

Surprisingly quickly 9pm rolled around and Keane sauntered on, launching straight into “Back In Time” from their latest EP, Night Train. Running from side to side of the stage, they ploughed through the hits with so much gusto that you wouldn’t imagine that they’re on their fourth record in six years. “Bend and Break” provided the first big singalong of the night, whilst things were ramped down for the trio to do a stripped down version of “Try Again” and “Hamburg Song”.

“Well done to the Forestry Commission for keeping one bit of England not tarmaced over – I know it’s not cool anymore, but I’m definitely going tree hugging tonight” smiled Tom to mass applause. The venue certainly gets thumbs up from us for being one of the most stunning places we’ve seen a gig – and even the car parks (which we’d read horror stories about) were nice, taking only 20 minutes to get out thanks to very helpful stewards.

The new stuff from the “Night Train EP” fits in perfectly with their older stuff – sometimes when a band plays newer stuff it’s cue for a bar break, but there wasn’t any sense of that for the four songs from the new collection that they played, and received just as big roars of approval as any of the older ones.

“Everybody’s Changing” sounds as fresh as it was in 2004 – the sort of song that your Gran, Mum, and kids will love, a pure and simple great pop song that had the whole audience bellowing along – a truly great sound, whilst “Somewhere Only We Know” saw lead singer Tom Chaplin leading the crowd in a mass-singalong of “Wo-Woah / Wo-Woah” at the songs finale.

Introducing “You Don’t See Me” as “my favourite song we’ve ever written”, Tom had a beautiful view from the stage of thousands of lighters and phones being held aloft, a highlight of the evening. Coming back for an encore, they ended with the always spine-tingling “Bedshapped”.

Sure, Keane may get a bit of a kicking at times in the “too cool for school” music press, but frankly there are few bands around today that can do such a set of quality pop songs that everyone know and love, that are so feel-good and universal. Hopefully they’ll continue their upward trajectory and will be found going all U2 on us (but hopefully without the preaching of Bono…).

Westonbirt Arboretum – Friday 18th June 2010
Keane played:
Back In Time
Nothing In My Way
Bend and Break
Spiralling,
A Bad Dream
Your Love
This Is The Last Time
Stop for a Minute
Try Again
Hamburg Song
You Haven’t Told Me Anything
Everybody’s Changing
Is It Any Wonder
You Don’t See Me
Perfect Symmetry
Somewhere Only We Know
My Shadow

Clear Skies
Crystal Ball
Bedshaped

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One Response

8:28 am
9th July 2010

A great concert a great live band, I say that speaking as a grandfather who has been watching band’s since the early 60’s and seen a lot, Cliff, Beatles and Queen I won’t go on…. Keane rate high amongst the top live bands I have ever seen

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