Is there nothing this Guy can’t do? - Guy Garvey's Meltdown headline performance reviewed

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Guy Garvey Royal Festival Hall Meltdown Festival Friday 17th June 2016


This year’s Meltdown curator Guy Garvey headlines the Friday night, Philip Giouras offers his thoughts….


Meltdown has offered some fantastic performances over the past week and it was time for this years curator Guy Garvey to make his mark. Well known for his work as frontman of Elbow and as a DJ on BBC Radio 6 tonight saw an exciting and emotional set taken from his solo album ‘Courting the Squall’

Guy is a remarkable musician, he’s proved as much with elbow but tonight he showed that he can stand out on his own just as well with a fantastic performance of purely solo material (bar one brilliant Ink Spots cover) that shows there is nothing this man can’t do.

Tonight felt like a celebration, it started with a clearly elated Guy proudly announcing his recent marriage and the music only matched the joyous occasion, psychedelic rock song “Angela’s Eyes” tore the roof off with Guy even featuring on a synth keyboard at points. new single Open The Door brought even more energy to proceedings with the african inspired anthem providing a stand out moment which is sure to go down great at his festival appearances this year. It wouldn’t be a Guy concert without ballads of which there was a few, the albums title track ‘Courting The Squall’ is magnificent and the song of heartbreak is easily one of his most beautiful songs to date.

Guy even showed off some moves of his own, a charming duet with support act Jesca Hoop to his song ‘Electricity’ saw them slow dancing and Guy twirling as their voices harmonised on the beautiful chorus. That wasn’t to be all however as he jokingly said he wasn’t pleased with the audiences dancing, so as the opening drum beats of ‘Belly Of The Whale’ boomed around the room Guy came down to show everyone how it’s done. He made his way round the theatre, dancing with clearly ecstatic audience members who on their part really got into it, a great sight to see!

Guy makes sure his backing band are involved throughout with plenty of audience participation, talks of each band member’s porno names and Guy’s best man (I Am Kloot member) Pete Jobson providing some of the best laughs of the night, an hilarious segment which saw Pete take centre stage with a keyboard as he played a few light hearted songs about Clint Eastwood and raunchy holidays which were brilliantly awful and ironically left me wanting to buy an album of the material.

A two song encore ended the night, Guy and his two guitarists huddled round the microphone for a fantastic cover of ‘I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire’ by The Ink Spots, with Pete’s deep voice nailing the spoken segment bringing plenty of laughter from the audience. The set ended however on ‘Broken Bottles And Chandeliers’ at first a seemingly strange choice but it didn’t take long before Guy had the whole audience in the palm of his hand, singing along to the melody in perfect harmony across the hall.

Guy’s lovable and wise cracking personality mixed with his stellar solo material makes for a brilliant night, which shows why Guy was the perfect choice to curate this wonderful festival. Make sure to check out his set at one of his few festival appearances happening across summer.


Philip Giouras is an aspiring music journalist from Northampton. He’s currently a Restaurant Manager and when he’s not flipping burgers he’s either behind a turntable or exploring festivals in far away places. He currently runs The Perfect Tempo.