13 Days Remaining

Wednesday 5th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

James Nalton reviews Grandaddy

Grandaddy at the Albert Hall, Manchester


“DON’T give in, 2000 man,” urges Jason Lytle as Grandaddy close their main set with He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot.

The words of the song resonate as much today as they did when it was released on their second album The Sophtware Slump that year.

The band’s music fits perfectly into the gothic setting of Manchester’s Albert Hall, which complements their mournful but hopeful Californian pop, backed by scenic visual projections throughout.

It’s a gig focusing on new album Last Place, their first release since 2012. Their new album’s a return to form and it contains some familiar Grandaddy sounds which fit seamlessly into the set.

New track Way We Won’t is one of the standouts and its combination of pop hooks, synth loops and churning guitar chorus puts it up there alongside classics The Crystal Lake and A.M. 180.

Stories of resilience in the face of ongoing adversity emerge regularly in the lyrics and the accompanying suggestions of hope take the subtlest of forms, from a single word to a couple of major chords. But they are definitely there.

A sheet draped over Lytle’s synths and other musical miscellany adds a sense of mystery to the sounds emerging from beneath. He and his band are an accomplished unit and the backing vocals of bass player Kevin Garcia mix perfectly with those of their frontman and songwriter.

The band reappear for an encore which ends with Summer Here Kids — a track about the search for a mythical summer sun to cure all ills — which typifies their paradoxically uplifting melancholy.

James Nalton