Review: John Grant, Brussels, 2 nd April. (Ancienne Belgique, Night Session)

John Grant's lp has been and is still one of my favourite for 2010/2011 and I have to pay the due: it's Mike Cobley who turned me on it. I've listened it once not very carefully and I completely missed it. I've listened it a second time and it's been a massive shock, music, voice, lyrics. As you probably know it yet, he was pretty unsuccessful with his former band, The Czars and he was very close to let music down. His Midlake's buddies took him back to the studio and the miracle happened, a masterpiece, outterspace, outtatime... It's gonna be very hard for him to do something as good in the future but this one is done. A masterpiece is always better than ten useless LP, what you think? 10 months ago, John played in a very very small venue around Lille and I dind't even heard about it! A year later, he played at Jools Holland's Later and had many articles and interviews... So What's the reality on stage, the place where everything is revealed: fakers and players, artists and real singers. No contest, he's great. The voice is absolutely awesome, very powerful and he doesn't even need a mic. He just came on stage in a very simple way with Christian on keys and piano, very friendly and he was instantly with us, here to share many personal feelings, the terrible experience, according to what he said several times, of growing up in Michigan...being a bit different when everyone make you feel like an Alien. The performance is very difficult to control and to master. Not enough and it's cold, too much and it could have been a very disgusting confession on stage. But John Grant is absolutely sincere, true, genuine and it helps you to be human too, to accept yourself. There's nothing fake in what he did saturday on stage, no effects, no trick, no fireworks, no lights to hide the poverty of the songs... It's been very moving and not that kind of sticky emotion we can see so often on TV (Yes, I hate TV most of the time...). He's there, a human being who suffered a lot being different, had some very brash times (nasty nasty times, cocaine times, he said), who told us about love, hope, despair...The brilliant photograph Alex Vanhee did wonderful photos, as usual, check his Facebook page (he shot the afternoon show, due to popular demand).

And when he closed his eyes for a second or two at the end of a song, you can easily feel he lived the song while he was singing. It's not an automatic performance, it's an intimate ffeeling which has been shaped to become a song. It's not sad at all, it helps you to feel better as a human being. It's the power of John Grant's music. He talked about his grandmother, very huge in his life and the little pink house (unreleased) has been a highlight moment of the show, a very stripped show, you can't cheat with a piano, a voice and a keyboard. Please, do not think it's been a sad show, John is very friendly and has a great sense of humour when there's the usual dummy in the audience who tried to prove he's a real fan (there's always one...). Something impressed me a lot, the silence quality when he sang, you could hear a fly... The audience was not a special one, men, women, any colour, any age, it's not a gay icon, it's a great singer/songwriter and that's it. It's important to be said because it could have been a massive booby trap, being stuck in that kind of category, to be pigeon holed...It's to easy to stick a label when it's so obvious and easy...The very brilliant Alex Vanhee shot the afternoon show (added due to popular demand), check his facebook page, Alex is very very brilliant, one of the best photographer I know, he gives life to any photo. After the fake encore (he didn't leave the stage and joked on it!), it was time to have a stroll in he very nice Brussels city, prolonging the magic with my friend Bruno. His son will be born soon and the post is dedicated to my beloved godson. We've been to a restaurant and when a brown skin guy wanted to come in to sell flowers, we've heard stupid racists words., a very nasty contempt. The world needs John Grant.

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