Singer-songwriter John Grant has become somewhat renowned for his brutally honest lyrics, whilst still managing to find a place for some biting wit. All of which was all on show at den Atelier on Friday evening.
A former member of the cult indie band The Czars, Grant took some time out before returning with his first critically acclaimed solo album “Queen of Denmark” back in 2010 which graced many a album of the year lists.
After his lauded second album, which saw him nominated for best international male at 2014 Brit awards, he went on to release one of this year’s most acclaimed albums in “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure” which rose to 5th in the UK charts. For an artist with no real mainstream appeal this just shows the strength of following from his avid fans.
The support for the evening was “Fufanu” from Iceland where Grant now resides. They seemed to jump from late 90s indie rock to dark psychedelia. The sound didn’t seem to help them much in what was a very sparse Atelier.
By the time Grant and his band entered the stage the crowd had grown but it was still an exceptionally modest crowd for such a praised artist. It was the mighty, musing of his title track “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure” that Grant began with, serenading the Atelier with that rich baritone vocal that he has become renowned for.
However it was with the dark electro beats of “Pale Green Ghosts” when the evening notched up a gear and Grant really found his flow and the crowd followed suit swaying away in unison. “Snug Slacks” epitomises the direction Grant’s music has taken since his debut, this new wave electro funk takes on an almost bowie-esque quality. Whilst the likes of “You and Him” and “Voodoo Doll” brought a more synth-soul groove to the evening.
Grant managed to change mood and momentum with effortless ease throughout the night as he went from the electro funk to the heart aching beauty of “Where The Dreams Go To Die”. As the band left the stage, Grant took to the piano and delved into past agonies with The Czars’ “Drug” before finishing off with the delicate “Caramel” off his debut album.
Grant remains one of the most enigmatic performers around today, few people can release such varied sounds on each album whilst still retaining such quality. Friday evening just highlighted once more what an incredible talent he has.