Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, October 18, 2013

John Grant...

Last night Stu, Mark, Denz, PJ and I went to see John Grant perform at the Jazz Cafe in London's less than glitzy Camden Town.

This particular Q Award nominee is hot right now. And as if to increase the Zeitgeisty feel of the evening even more he mentioned attending the Attitude Awards two nights earlier (where he picked up Man Of The Year) and got to meet his gay heroes Marc Almond and Holly Johnson. Bless him. He knows his roots that boy.

Beardy Mr Grant specialises in a line gravel-voiced miserablism that hits a chord with today's ennui generation and which taps into the celebrity-ladened media's obsession with 'self' perfectly. Only John Grant doesn't need to make up his angst like so many pop stars do each day for the entertainment pages. He is the real deal. He has genuine angst - in buckets.

His exploration of his own psyche - the defensiveness, the occasional self-hatred but utter self-awareness - shows an amazing depth of feeling and passion that simply spews out into his lyrics. And he certainly has the history to draw on - alcohol and drug addiction, coming to terms with being gay and HIV-positive, problems in his youth and trouble with a former boyfriend are topics all keenly and wittily observed. It was at times painful to hear such naked emotion expressed vocally but his songs tell a truth that clearly taps into the collective consciousness of the surprisingly diverse audience at the venue last night. More often than not he had us in the palm of his hand.

Musically John Grant is truly gifted too. There is no other expression for it. Perfectly crafted songs that simmer and then soar into the air like the Icelandic volcanoes he once lived so near. His sound sits somewhere between Sigur Ros and a late 70s prog rock band – beautiful atmospheric songs with the occasional six minute synth-fuelled epic which demonstrate his obvious fandom of bands like the Cocteau Twins.

Stand out songs of the night were I Hate This Town, Vietnam, Pale Green Ghosts, the single GMF and encore-ending / crowd-favourite Queen of Denmark. 

Sadly the much hoped for appearance of backing-singer Sinéad O'Connor swinging naked across the stage on a wrecking ball never materialised. Not so much as a twerk.

Roll on John Grant's next London appearance at the Roundhouse next March.

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