LIVE: American Football @ Electric Ballroom, London

By Ben Tipple

This review is redundant. Allow me to explain why.

Over their seven UK dates, including two at London’s Electric Ballroom, American Football will have been worshiped by a significant proportion of their adoring fans. Excuse the blasphemy; no other word seems to adequately represent the audience’s reaction to the Illinois emo pioneers.

Devoted American Football fans have, since announcing the tour back in November, bent over backwards to get their hands on tickets. Shows sold out, more were announced, and ultimately the true hardcore will have been present and correct – beards and plaid shirts at the ready.

For that hardcore contingent, American Football were never going to be bad. With the situation often threatening to go one of two ways; either crushing disappointment or blissful ignorance, all American Football shows were destined to lean towards the latter. Even if American Football weren’t going to be perfect, they were never going to be devastatingly bad.

Thus, this review is redundant. I could speak of their cleverly constructed atmosphere, which bubbles gently from the understated ‘Five Silent Miles’ before climaxing with the mesmerising ‘Never Meant’. I could describe how the audience follow Mike Kinsella’s every word, swaying to the enchanting ebb and flow of the music, not least heightened by Steve Lamos’ trumpet interludes that delicately envelop the otherwise silent venue.

We could discuss how Kinsella’s approachable nature enhances the intimacy of the music, seemingly reducing the Electric Ballroom to the size and feel of a well-worn sitting room. How the set opens with all three tracks from their debut EP before spanning the entire self-titled full-length with a few minor alterations and surprises.

Perhaps I could chat about how the minor indiscretions only held to invigorate an already emotion filled sound, and how these indiscretions are more than irrelevant to tonight’s onlookers. I could muse on how such a simple sound could sound so gentle and intense at the same time, and all this from a pre-teen who was exclusively listening to the Spice Girls at the time of American Football’s emergence.

But I won’t. Because this review is redundant.