John Grant

John GrantJohn Grant

Sage, Gateshead

10th February 2016

Tonight proves that John Grant is one of the finest artists around, the various twists and turns of his set leave this crowd in complete awe.

As the lights go down and the crowd are hushed, the booming sound of the prologue to John Grant’s latest album Grey Tickles, Black Pressure plays out. As the passage comes to an end, the band take their places. The crowd of all comers that pack this vast venue as far and as high as the eye can see, erupt at the sight of their hero.

There are few artists that can enthuse a crowd in such a way, tonight though the mild mannered John Grant is as awe-inspiring as ever. Opening with the last musical track of his latest album, the thunderous power of Geraldine is incredible, his caustic lyrics cutting through the soaring melody. This is just the start though as he hits his stride, his evocative tone packed with emotion and passion.

John Grant

As the stage shines a vibrant red and the opening cords of Marz ring out through this exceptional venue, Grant takes the front of the stage. He is statuesque in the centre of the stage delivering this incredible song. All eyes are transfixed on him, the room glowing red; once again his captivating performance has everyone on the edge of their seats.

Whilst there is a seriousness to the set, Grant does cut loose Pale Green Ghosts sees the start of his dancing exploits. When it comes to Snug Slacks he is up there shimmying with the best of them, he cuts the harsher atmosphere with his jovial swagger.

The delicate tension filled Queen of Denmark, is phenomenal the slow rumbling build as the track explodes into this incredible all encompassing wall of sound before being back to its graceful simmer. However, what follows compounds the brilliance of John Grant, in a venue that normally plays host to some of the greatest orchestras from across the globe.

John Grant

He has the entire crowd on their feet for a rousing rendition of GMF, never did we think that we would see the Sage chanting “I am the greatest motherfucker you’re ever gonna meet”. This feels like a truly special moment as Grant grin expands further, such a powerful, liberating track and as he brings the main set to an end with an equally exciting and danceable rendition of Disappointing.

With the crowd reaching fever pitch, Grant obliges with a mammoth five-song encore kicking it off with a trio from his latest album. You And Him proving to be another instant crowd hit, its danceable groove coupled with his genius songwriting make for yet another highlight in this supersonic set.

As his band leave the stage Grant takes to the piano alone, he brings the mood down with a cover of The Czars Drug. This beautiful track shows the more sombre side, yet it is no less captivating. As he finally leaves the stage we’re left still wanting more, his genial manner shines through all night and from the harshest of his lyrics to his best dance moves he is simply brilliant this evening.

John Grant can be found online here He is also on Facebook and tweet as @JohnWGrant.

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All words and photos by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee at his Louder Than War author’s archive, he also tweets as @Napzap.

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