Snow Patrol has been making records for nearly 15 years, but the band from Scotland, via Northern Ireland didn’t make a splash outside the United Kingdom until 2003, when it released the album “Final Straw.” That album included the epic guitar anthem “Light,” the band’s first Top 20 single in the United States. Nine years later, the band and its music still resonates.
Lead singer Gary Lightbody is a charming and animated frontman, the kind who can engage a crowd and enflame the mood in the room during and between songs. He did plenty of that Tuesday night, chatting with fans up front and talking about the band’s day off in Kansas City on Monday. (Bowling and barbecue were on the itinerary.)
The band is touring off its latest album, “Fallen Empires,” released in North America in January. They would play six of its tracks, nearly a third of the setlist, which caused a few lulls in the show. One of the better moments of the night, however, came when Ed Sheeran, the 21-year-old British singer/songwriter who opened the evening, came on stage and added vocals to the ballad “New York,” a track off “Empires.” The lulls were few and they weren’t the evening’s most significant problem.
Early in the show, Lightbody stopped to recognize the crowd that filled the VIP section, a balcony-like bar area above the floor and to the left of the stage. He mistook it for the “peanut gallery” instead of a place of supposed privilege, which is what it is when the place is full and location in the room is critical.
I heard from a few people up front about how great the show and the crowd were. For some of us in the back of the room, it was a different story.The sound mix in the Beaumont was unusually clear this evening. But there was another sound problem: the heavy din of people trying to talk over the music. Even during “Run,” which was played early, about half of the people in the very back of the room were ignoring the band.
That behavior improved gradually as the show proceeded and the setlist turned to older or more familiar material. The place was loudest and rowdiest when the band unleashed, back-to-back-to-back, “Shut Your Eyes,” “Chasing Cars” and “Chocolate.” The sing-along during “Shut Your Eyes” was impressive, though it took some coaxing from Lightbody to get it up to full volume. The frenetic “You’re All I Have” also set the room ablaze.
They closed with something new, “Lifening,” from “Empires,” then “Just Say Yes,” a gale of ebullience and a declaration of love from the “Up to Now” compilation. As Lightbody bounced about the stage, the video screen behind the band lit up and blinked with lights and the title of the song. It was enough to make people in the back of the room forget what they were talking about and submit to the uplifting mood.
Setlist: Hands Open; Take Back the City; Crack the Shutters; This Isn’t Everything You Are; Run; In the End; New York (with Ed Sheeran); Set the Fire to the Third Bar; Make This Go On Forever; Shut Your Eyes; Chasing Cars; Chocolate; Called Out in the Dark; Fallen Empires; You’re All I Have; Lifening; Just Say Yes.
| Timothy Finn, The Star