It’s been the most intriguing of journeys for John Grant, from a place in time when he feared he’d never make music again or escape a life of addiction, to winning awards and accolades, as well as the heart and soul of the Glasgow audience, as he performs as part of the Celtic Connections 2019. A gig that seemed rather far removed from this festival and not just in proximity (it was at the King’s), it also felt an odd inclusion for the festival, it held it’s own as the crowd danced and heckled fondly. Supported by his friend, E.B. The Younger, there were occasional intimate moments throughout the performance, which rendered the evening more entertaining.
E.B. The Younger seems to fulfil the criteria for the Celtic Connections gig, as his set includes all of the following, roots Americana, beard, long hair, he was an interesting talent to witness. His real name Eric Pulido, or Eric Brandon as he refers to himself, hence E.B. he provides some background and context into how he got to be on this stage, performing to the folks of Glasgow, as his acoustics echo in the stalls of the King’s theatre. With Daniel Creamer on piano and Fiona Brice brought up to perform fiddle, there is a richness to Eric’s sound. Otherwise it can sound a little flat and DIY.
John Grant, JG or GMF as many like to refer to him addresses the stage with full-on beard, baseball cap and dark glitter around his eyes, resembling somewhat of a superhero mask. Clearly promoting the most recent album, Love is Magic, there is little that Grant can do to let down his fans. There is a clear love for John Grant in the eves this evening, as he often has to reply “I love you too,” one which judging from the reception to this performance, is an emotion that is unlikely to die anytime soon. His velvety baritone literally crawls under your skin, amidst the backdrop of poignant piano or full-on synth, keeping something consistent over the course of the night. Don’t get me wrong, this is welcomed but it’s more than affecting as we hear John sing about Sigourney Weaver or expectedly being the “Greatest Motherf..ker in the World,” every song carries a spine-tingling moment, as we watch Grant perform his underrated dance moves.
With the venue all lit up with retro Tetris looking lights, you get the occasional moment that you forget that you are in the theatre, until you realise that you are sat whilst everyone attempting to take a photo of the great man is reprimanded by an usher. Despite clearly attempting to promote this new record performing tracks such as Metamorphosis and He’s Got His Mother’s Hips, it is the old classics that always have the biggest response, as songs such as Pale Green Ghost, GMF and Black Belt lift the audience from their chairs. However much this was a strange gig for the Celtic Connections programme and this be an odd venue for this gig, there was nothing to detract from the fact that Grant is established not only in the music world, but in the hearts and minds of his Scottish fans. It was a joy to be a part of this heartfelt gig.
For more on Celtic Connections click here.