It’s a good job Grandaddy faithfuls have had plenty practice waiting. At nearly an hour after the doors were supposed to open, the lengthy queue in Bristo Square was only moving backwards, yet the crowd remained in good spirits. After all, what’s an extra hour in the cold when it’d been ten years since the Jason Lytle and company visited Scotland with new material?
Whatever the reason for the hold up, openers Amber Arcades were utterly unphased. The recording project of Dutch songwriter and human rights aide Annelotte de Graaf performed as a sprightly five-piece with the confidence and energy of a group determined to have a good time. De Graaf’s breezy dream pop was initially in danger of being trampled by a muddy sound mix but the band soon recovered, airing a sparse electronic ballad from their upcoming EP before settling into a series of noodly grooves driven by some limber yet satisfyingly chunky bass playing.
Then, more waiting. The voice coming from the on-stage PA sounded alarmingly flustered as the tech team prepped the stage for Grandaddy, assembling what looked more like a bake sale given the fold-up tables and stripey linoleum tablecloths than the setup for a rock gig.
“It’s a rat’s nest up here!” Lytle joked when Grandaddy eventually arrived. “Things sounded extremely shaky during the sound check so we’re going to try and not get intimidated by that,” he added, quelling any expectations of a tour de force from the veteran group. That Grandaddy – the band who once penned an ode to broken household appliances – should be stymied by technical difficulties is almost too perfect. It was the musicians, however, who seemed under the weather during a bleary but nonetheless cheerful opening medley of early material.
Evermore, the first new track of the evening, delivered a much needed jolt of electricity to the proceedings, and in general the band sound most energised while playing cuts from Last Place. It was unfortunate, then, that their new LP was oddly underrepresented, the set organised around crowd pleasing singles from their back catalogue that much of the audience – probably the middle-aged, checkered shirt and bearded set – had likely heard the them play before, perhaps even at one of their reunion gigs in 2012. So while I enjoyed hearing a seminal indie act revisit tracks that helped define an era (Now It’s On, A.M. 180), I wasn’t exactly persuaded of the fact that, unlike five years ago, Grandaddy are no longer a historical piece but a contemporary band.
For more on Grandaddy and their tour click here.