One of the largest multi-artform venues in the UK, Warwick Arts Centre first opened its doors in 1974 and presents over 2,000 performances a year, with music, drama, dance, comedy, film, visual arts and literature events all featuring.

Warwick Arts Centre,

The University Of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Rd,

Coventry

CV4 7AL

warwickartscentre.co.uk

Telephone: 02476 524524

Email: Box.office@warwick.ac.uk

JOHN GRANT - Reviewed by Steve Adams 

“Life is a battlefield each day” - the opening line of the opening song (Just So You Know) of John Grant’s set at Warwick Arts Centre couldn’t have been more on the money. The tune, from his recent album Boy From Michigan, doesn’t relate to ongoing Covid fears, police concerns, fuel, food and test tube shortages  but felt apt all the same.

The melancholic tune is actually designed to comfort the singer’s nearest and dearest after he’s gone, and hardly makes for an “are we gonna rock tonight?” opening, but is typical Grant - poignant and sardonic at the same time, trading heartfelt emotions with references to people who “don’t even pick up their dog’s poop in the park”.
The juxtaposition set the tone for an evening that saw Grant dance - in his inimitable, self-mocking way - back and forth between poignant piano ballads and full-on electronica, a trick he manages without skipping an electro beat. Heartbreaking numbers like The Cruise Room and Dandy Star shouldn’t work alongside the daft Sparks-like Rhetorical Figure or mercurial Pale Green Ghosts, but somehow do - and can be attributed to two constants - Grant’s genial personality and wonderful baritone.
The changing pace definitely gave the evening an added dynamic, as did the unheralded addition of multi-instrumentalist Cormac Curran, whose guitar and saxophone flourishes brilliantly augmented the keyboards of long-term cohort (and local lad) Chris Pemberton. The trio were clearly enjoying themselves too - Grant admitted he felt great on stage but ‘discombobulated’ everywhere else - but the number of empty seats and cautious mask-wearers bore testimony to the fact that not everyone is truly comfortable with, or ready to return to, live gigs just yet. For those that overcome those fears, this cracking show was wonderful reward.


on Fri, 01 Oct 2021