Seeing Longview tonight was a really strange experience. It was like seeing an old friend, a bit like where you're really close to someone, you don't see them for a long time then when you meet up again, it's just like you were never apart. It was a bit like that with Longview, familiar yet just as good as it always was. 'Mercury' became my soundtrack to a long hot Summer when I first moved from uni to London a few years ago and it's an album that I never tired of listening to. Beautifully soft and melodic, yes driven by ballads, yet it's Rob McVeys haunting vocals that drive an alluringly crafted album. This was 2003, now on a rainy Wednesday evening in London in March 2008, Longview are back.
At the time, Longview weren't slated but cast aside, somewhat likened to a pale imitation of Embrace and faded away as guitars and indie music took over in a wash of skinny jeans and dare I say it cock rock. 'We Started Fires'' one of the new songs to be played, uttered the lyrics 'trodden in the ground like dead leaves, noone can fix the broken machine, we're only part of the bigger scene.'
The fact that Danny McNamara from Embrace was stood there tonight listening intently, says it all. Yes they might be Yorkshire boys in the same ilk as Danny and bands such as Coldplay and Snow Patrol but the difference is, Longview's rich, full tones and enigmatic melodies are what set them worlds apart from Embrace.
Those other bands may have sold out to football stadium crowds with their anthemic tunes, but last night I stood and watched in the crowded Dingwall's in Camden, as the audience, mostly made up of friends of the band, family and old fans, hung on to every single note. Not only from the familiar beginnings as the first chords of 'Further' were struck, but I was amazed that when 'Further' faded out, the crowd sung the verse as if they were clinging onto it with their every hope, they even sang the harmonies. It was all quite emotional and sentimental yet really positive and it was clearly visible on Rob's face that he was undoubtedly excited to be there once again. This as a whole sounds very wishy washy and dreamy but one of the factors to their earlier success was that Longview, do in fact have this capability to 'paint dream like canvasses with their lyrics.'
They played the the old tracks, 'I Would' and 'Will you wait here' along with 'Signals' which had strength and a poetic flow. With a familiar set up and new drummer, Aidan Banks (Bass) Doug Morch (Guitar) as always compliment McVey's vocals exquisitely with effortless charm. Rob is so tall, towering above the two of them in the centre, that they remind me of two Hobbit's from the Shire, but they back him up vocally without fault and their presence just adds to the solidarity of the set. Words such as failure, hope, trust, love, desire, echoed throughout, tonight it was more about standing up alongside the bands that influenced them rather than their competition and I think Longview's presence today is really to prove, that although time has passed and it's been a long journey, the essence of the band remains the same.
'Waited for hours, hours turn to days, days to to years, I'm still here.'
Longview are still here and they have the foundations to flourish.