NEW YORK, NY—Snow Patrol’s “Take Back The City” 22 performance U.S. tour arrived at Manhattan’s storied Beacon Theater for two sold out nights on Sept. 22nd and 23. The band was in top form, playing with a clear sense of intensity, focus and cohesion. In addition to benefiting sonically from the excellent acoustics of the venue, the group was self-equipped with an array of interesting visual back drops which were not large enough to be as effective in a space much bigger than this one. The lighting was stellar, neatly punctuating the music with its syncopation and rich color varieties. With the exception of a technical glitch in which some of the amplification went out for a few moments on the first night, it was an essentially flawless performance.
The quintet’s mixed celtic Irish/Scottish line-up consists of founding member and front man Gary Lightbody (lead vocals and guitar), Nathan Connolly (guitar, vocals), Paul Wilson (bass), Tom Simpson (keyboards) and Johnny Quinn (drums). To rousing applause from the bars of the opening songs, “If There’s A Rocket Tie Me To It” and the upbeat “Chocolate,” Lightbody had the audience eating out of his hand with his expletive-laced and humorous Irish charm. He was very much at ease on stage in front of his enthusiastic fans and reveled in the banter between them. For the most part the crowd was in their 20s and 30s. There were a few that yelled out “Glasgow” and a couple of Irish cities, given the common link they shared with the band. Their words of solidarity could be heard and acknowledged from the stage, as opposed to being lost in the masses as is the case at huge venues.
The intimate size of the Beacon coupled with it being in the country’s most major market of a city provided for an inspired environment to draw from a repertoire that spans 15 years. Since forming at the University of Dundee in Scotland in ’94, they’ve released six albums, which in total have sold seven million copies worldwide. They consist of Songs For Polar Bears (1998), When It’s All Over We Still Have To Clear Up (2001), Final Straw (2004), Eyes Open (2006), A Hundred Million Suns (2008), and Late Night Tales (2009). There was therefore something for fans old and new. From the haunting but uplifting “Run” and crowd pleasing hits “Chasing Cars” (voted best song of all time by UK Virgin radio fans) and the very recent and lyrically intimate “Crack The Shutters,” the band alternated between a well-balanced assortment of ballads, moderate rockers and flat out rock. It was all part of their UK-based musical cocktail, one which was swallowed whole by this mostly young and American gathering at summer’s end.