TVD Live Shots: Keane and Marie White at Royal Albert Hall, 9/28

Keane made a triumphant return to London’s famed Royal Albert Hall for a two-night stint which sold out almost instantly—one week after the release of their new record Cause and Effect and six years since their last studio record. Strangeland came out to mixed reviews back in 2012, but I would argue it’s the crown jewel of the band’s catalogue, a clear indicator that the band was at its creative peak both musically and visually. I saw them twice in the States on that tour, and both shows were above and beyond anything I had seen that year.

A few years into Keane’s hiatus, Tom Chaplin answered the question on everyone’s mind—can he write the songs and go solo? The Wave was a swift and masterful response and a resounding yes; this guy can pretty much do it all, even when sober, when many musicians often lose their creative edge and fail. Throw in a Christmas album and a tour of the UK where Chaplin brilliantly performed the songs of Queen, and one would think that this would be a set up for Strangeland part two: bigger, bolder, braver. But was that even necessary?

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, Keane returned after seven years with the much-anticipated Cause and Effect. In true Keane fashion, it’s another curveball of a record for the hardcore fans. All the elements that make this band so great are here but they’re stripped down a bit—the experimentation and theatrics that made Strangeland so daring and perfect are missing. And that’s OK because the songs, the stories, and most importantly the voice are all there. It’s as if the band wanted to go back to basics. Make no mistake, this is a pop record, but with a level of substance that’s missing from the overproduced garbage dominating the radio today.

The strongest songs on the record, including “I’m Not Leaving,” “You’re Not Alone,” and “Love Too Much” sounded spectacular live. Keane gave us eight songs from the new record, which was impressive, and I wonder why they didn’t just play Cause and Effect in its entirety at one point. Then again, the setlist included 26 songs total and even though almost every song was a hit of theirs, I still missed a couple including “Bad Dream” and “Lovers are Losing.” The Sunday night gig got “Bad Dream,” but Saturday we were treated to an impromptu call-out request for “Hamburg Song,” which I think caught everyone a bit off guard. All the classics were there, and they all sounded stellar. I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Disconnected” sound so good as the second song in the set, this is usually one you have to build up to, but it worked.

All in all, it was a brilliant night of music, and I have to say that the opener Marie White was mesmerizing. I think I just witnessed the next Adele but with more of an organic feel to her songs. She recently won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and is poised to be the next prominent breakout artist. Based on her performance and competent band, there’s no denying that she will make an impact very quickly.

MARIE WHITE

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