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Elbow: International Arena, Cardiff

Jude Rogers, The Observer, 27 March 2011

TONIGHT, CARDIFF'S premier gig-shed has turned into a family parlour. Five picture frames hang from the stage, gold and old-fashioned, each of them holding a member of Elbow. Every now and then, each portrait breaks its composure – to scratch a nose, brush a sleeve, or, in Guy Garvey's case, exhale like Henry VIII after a particularly heavy supper. Eventually the lights lower, the frames empty, and the band arrive for real, raising half-empty pint glasses like welcome flags. The gesture is returned by 7,500 people – and before a note has been played, the audience is theirs.

Total word count of piece: 770


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