John Grant – formerly of The Czars – and now, inimitably, just John Grant

I am off down various lanes named memory this weekend so I am in a mellow mood and so, for various reasons, I thought I would leave you all with a song or two. They all feature the mellowly acerbic and only recently recognised John Grant who was once the lead vocalist in that sadly neglected band The Czars. He crashed when the band dissolved and, a big thanks to them, was eventually scrapped up off the floor by another favourite band of mine, Midlake, who persuaded him to record a solo album with them in their studio. The result, one of 2010’s very best albums, Queen Of Denmark, built on Grant’s obsessions and understanding of another underestimated genre, the music of the 1970s  that managed to load more power and meaning into an unassuming little song than the era has been allowed by an undeservedly snooty posterity.

John Grant is very welcome back and as he is currently touring the UK, I suggest you go and find out how good he is for yourselves. Next Wednesday, unmissably, he is performing with Midlake at London’s South Bank Centre.

In case you have forgotten, The Czars really should be remembered:

Here they are again, doing what so many bands fail to do, giving just as inspiring performance of a “hit” song in an unaided acoustic performance – actually, I prefer it to the original but what do I know.

If you haven’t heard the Queen of Denmark album, you probably do know one of the featured songs from it – Where Dreams Go To Die. Yet again, John Grant can out-perform his recorded performance accoustically. Here he gives a superb performance the really difficult way – just a man with a voice tickling the ivories:

If you don’t know the original, here it is with the splendidly inventive Midlake. You will, I hope, enjoy just how much acid he can pour into a deceptively sugary bonbon.

And, just in case, you think he is all crying into his beer, as if, he can be wryly and bitingly humourous too. The song, Silver Platter Club, shows that he can never be accused of taking himself too seriously. If like me you have never heard of one of the names dropped in the song, one Eduardo Verastegui, he is, apparently, a Mexican model who also sings and, er, acts but is chiefly known for his masculine good looks – he and his sporty lookalikes, deserve a bit of mockery  – or am I just jealous?:

Eduardo Verastegui

 Have a good weekend.

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