Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Live gig review : John Grant, ABC, Glasgow Oct 19th 2013

John Grant arrived in Glasgow this weekend touring after the release of his second solo album, Pale Green Ghosts. His first solo album, Queen of Denmark, featured backing by Midlake and as a result had a twangy, 70s vibe. The trumpets, strings and backing vocals at times made the album veer towards almost Carpenters feel. However the witty and biting lyrics held the attention such as in JC Hates Faggots, about his upbringing in a religious house, "I can't believe that I've considered taking my own life, cos I believed the lies about me were the truth".  If the album had a theme it was "Ach. Fuck it all." When I saw him performing it live, he dropped and destroyed his iMac on the way to the stage, but still turned in a captivating, confessional performance in the pleasant ambience of St Andrews In The Square.

Pale Green Ghosts had a different feel, produced in Iceland with Birgir Th√≥rarinsson giving it sparse electronics. The sharp lyrics have more bite, and the theme this time seems to be a more specific "Fuck you!" to his ex-partner. The sound is more a dystonic disco vibe.

John Grant

The venue this time around was less intimate, at the ABC on Sauchiehall Street, but whereas he was only accompanied on keyboards when I saw him before, this time he had a 5-piece band to fill the bigger venue. The retro sounding synths were giving it laldy on "Sensitive New Age Guy" and he finished teh set with a barn-storming performance of "Queen of Denmark" before returning for a quieter encore. Really enjoyable show, he comes over much less dour in person than his lyrics would have you believe. Witty and entertaining.

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