By Abigael Sleeper, Arts Editor
This past Saturday, fans and musicians alike battled the heavy snow on their journeys to the State Theater in Portland, Maine.
London Grammar, named for their city of origin, hit the stage in Portland around 9:30 pm on Saturday night. The band was originally scheduled to preform at the Port City Music Hall in November of 2014, but the concert was moved to the larger venue in the early fall. While this move allowed more fans to attend the show, the weekend snow-storm could have put a damper on the performance.
Pianist and drummer, Dominic “Dot” Major, thanked everyone who fought through the snow to make it to the theater.
“We really weren’t sure if anyone would show up,” he said between songs, “In England the moment it snows everyone holes up inside.”
The New England audience didn’t weather dampen their spirits, many bundled in winter scarves and snow boots as they crowded the stage for opener Until the Ribbon Breaks and the headliner, London Grammar.
The British electronic-pop trio released their debut EP, “Metal and Dust”, in February 2013, after singer Hannah Reid and guitarist Dan Rothman met at the University of Nottingham and formed the band four years previously. Though the band has performed in the US since dropping their album, “If You Wait”, Saturday was their first visit to Maine.
“We’ve never been to Portland, Maine before,” Major informed the audience. “And today, we’ve managed to eat in the same restaurant twice.”
Despite their laid-back and unassuming demeanor on stage, the members of London Grammar displayed impressive musical skill.
Vocalist Reid showed considerable range and power, particularly in vocal-heavy songs such as “Hey Now” and “Wasting My Young Years,” as well as adding her own instrumental touch on Major’s keyboard during one song.
Rothman utilized loopers to layer rhythms with his guitar, and Major bounced between the drum set and keyboard between songs, even breaking out a set of African drums for one noteworthy introduction.
Though much of the live performance stayed true to the dark, but mellow, feel of the group’s recorded music, some pieces, such as the title track of their EP “Metal and Dust”, reached energy-levels that couldn’t translate into the band’s recorded sound.
Reid’s vocal skill was highlighted during these parts of the show, as she carried powerful, improvised lines over bass-heavy interludes.
Many audience members could be seen dancing along to songs they had previously known to be mellow tunes.
Though the drive to Portland may have been treacherous for both the band and their fans, the audience seemed to deem the concert worth the trip, cheering the band back onto the stage for an encore at the end of the show.
“Thank you all so much, again,” said Reid to the crowd. “It really is always a pleasure.”