Love Is Magic

I was back at The Albert Hall on Saturday night to see John Grant, the venue far fuller than it was the night before for The House Of Love (and in an unprecedented turn of events I was offered a ticket for Parquet Courts on Sunday night but 3 nights on the bounce was pushing it). I’m not really familiar with much of John Grant’s work and was offered the ticket by a friend who’d got a spare. Grant is promoting his new album Love is Magic and spent much of the gig alternating between standing centre stage at the mic singing in his rich baritone over club-inspired thumpers, Roland synth basslines squiggling away, and sitting at the keyboards and playing more personal songs, accompanied by a full band including ex- Banshee and Creature Budgie on drums. Budgie’s contribution was immense, live kit plus electronic drum pads. Dressed in cowboy shirt and trucker gap with a heavy beard Grant looks like he’s come straight out of the Mid-West but his dancing suggests time spent in nightclubs and his lyrics are full and frank and witty. I’d listened to this one before going out…

I’m not enough of a fan to be able to tell you exactly which songs were played- the internet tells me that Glacier, Disappointed, No More Tangles, Pale Green Ghost and Voodoo Doll were favourites among those who were there. A lot of his songs reminded me of film songs or show tunes, clever lines detailing a life lived with mistakes but few regrets. Set closer Queen Of Denmark, a song I did know before the gig, was a highlight, the crowd singing along with him and waving their hands in the air. The last few songs saw Richard Hawley appear, double denim and red guitar, spraying feedback across the front of the stage and then playing face to face.

This song was second up, Grant’s hips wiggling and hand gestures cutting shapes in the light show. Well worth a few minutes of your time today.