John Grant at The Usher Hall with the Royal Northern Sinfonia


the view from the very, very back row of the upper circle of the Usher hall

the view from the very, very back row of the upper circle of the Usher hall

Oh my Lord.

You know when bands hire six cello players to play on TV programmes like Later…with Jools Holland and it’s quite good?  Adds a wee frisson?

Well try touring with your six piece band and a 26 piece (est.) orchestra.  Now, that’s more than a frisson, that’s a full blown “When Harry Met Sally” moment.

Actually much more than a moment.  This was two hours of ecstasy in a world class acoustic venue.

I saw John Grant on the Park Stage at Glastonbury this year and he was my joint favourite act (alongside Massive Attack) but that was rock and roll/clubland electronica.  This was very different.

He has enlisted the help of Fiona Bryce to score his first two albums and at least four new songs and jeepers, the results really are quite remarkable.

In particular the Wagneresque (although I think he claimed it was Rachmaninov) opening to Pale Green Ghosts that literally blew the audience away.  Glacier was truly astonishing.

Contrast that with “But I am the greatest motherfucker that you’re ever gonna meet from the top of my head down to the tips of my toes on my feet” and you get the measure of the man.  He’s electrifying.

He’s also humble.

It was a rare treat tonight and I feel honoured to have shared a night with him.

John Grant video lays it all before us.


The history of homosexuality in a complex and absorbing timeline set to his spectacular song “Glacier ” from his latest album.  The song is something of a call to arms to Gay people (male and female) the world over to help them deal with the prejudice that threatens to engulf them, like a glacier.

A great piece of work

You just want to live your life the best way you know how
but they keep on telling you that you are not allowed
They say you are sick, that you should hang your head in shame
They are pointing fingers and want you to take the blame

There are days when people are so nasty and convincing
they say things beyond belief, that sting and leave you wincing
And to boot, they say their words come straight down from above
And they really seem to think that what they’re doing counts as love

This pain, it is a glacier moving through you
and carving out deep valleys
and creating spectacular landscapes
and nourishing the ground
with precious minerals and other stuff
so don’t you become paralyzed with fear
when things seem particularly rough

Don’t you pay them fuckers as they say “No, never mind”
They don’t give two shits about you. It’s the blind leading the blind
What they want is commonly referred to as theocracy
and what that boils down to is referred to as hypocrisy

Don’t listen to anyone, get answers on your own
even if it means that sometimes you feel quite alone
No one on this planet can tell you what to believe
People like to talk a lot, and they like to deceive

This pain, it is a glacier moving through you
and carving out deep valleys
and creating spectacular landscapes
and nourishing the ground
with precious minerals and other stuff
so don’t you become paralyzed with fear
when things seem particularly rough

Oh, oh, oh
This pain, it is a glacier moving through you
and carving out deep valleys
and creating spectacular landscapes
and nourishing the ground
with precious minerals and other stuff
so don’t you become paralyzed with fear
when things seem particularly rough