David Gray has aspired to create an atmosphere "more like a recording session than a gig" on his current Lost and Found tour, going for a softer interpretation of tracks from his back catalogue, in keeping with the intimate strains of current album Foundling.
Vintage lampstands lit up the junkshop clutter of instruments – cello, double bass, harmonium, various keyboards – on the stage, from which was conjured a superficially intriguing twanging, wheezing, thrumming backing to a rambling, rather indulgent bluesy opener.
The subtle input of slide guitar and mellow harmonising of the additional voices at his disposal, including support act Lisa O'Neill, could only go so far in dressing up what is still pretty mundane folk-pop material.
Gray has taken this set-up as an excuse to delve into his old suitcase of songs, eliciting prior requests for 156 different titles via his website – who would have thought the wobble-headed troubadour had so much music in him? From this free-for-all, he favoured a selection of delicately country-flavoured album cuts such as Lately and the Dylanesque Flame Turns Blue.
The politely morose likes of piano ballad Ain't No Love were at odds with the lusty appreciation of the crowd for whom he hit a home run with You're The World To Me, hammered out solo at the grand piano, This Year's Love and The One I Love, before rounding off with the dull lull of Nemesis and his Marmite-like breakthrough hit Babylon.