He sings, in a sumptuous baritone, about his depression, drug addiction and alcoholism, the homophobic abuse he’s endured, as well as the fact that he was recently diagnosed HIV positive. Grant actually broke this news on stage at a gig with disco-house outfit Hercules and Love Affair in 2012. Evidently, for Grant, performing is an act of daredevil courage, an internal brinksmanship.
He used to front the The Czars, a well-respected alt-acoustic band from Denver known for their melancholic, assured lyrics, often evocative of Jeff Buckley at his most miserable. (Check out the band’s affecting rendition of Connie Francis’ classic Where the Boys Are.) After The Czars broke up in 2004, Grant took some time off and then launched a solo career in 2010.
Since then, the fruits of his labour have consisted in two acclaimed albums, 2010’s Queen of Denmark and 2013's Pale Green Ghosts. The former continued in the brutally honest vein he’d established with The Czars. Pale Green Ghosts, however, has been getting more attention: this is because the lyrics are devastating (whereas Queen of Denmark charted the blossoming of his romance with the mysterious 'TC', Pale Green Ghosts encapsulates their seriously acrimonious break-up).
In contrast to Queen of Denmark, though, PGG is that strange beast: a lyrics-driven dance album. It's all a bit LCD Soundsystem: the album is full of dark synth melodies and electronic beats, and the result is impossibly catchy. You find yourself tapping your feet, enjoying the music in songs like Black Belt, even as Grant excoriates 'TC' for his 'black belt in BS' and admonishes 'etch a sketch your way out of this one, reject'.
|What||John Grant, Hammersmith Apollo|
|Where||Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street , London, W6 9DZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Hammersmith (Piccadilly and District lines) (underground)|
On 12 Nov 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via eventim.co.uk|