John Grant: GMF-on-Sea


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I’m still massively over-excited after going to John Grant’s gig at the De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill-on-Sea last night – not only was it an amazing set but we also got to meet the man himself afterwards! Please excuse the number of superlatives in my post – I really cannot say how much we love and respect him, you only have to read the posts from others on his Facebook page to see we’re not alone.

The set included tracks from both albums – Queen of Denmark and Pale Green Ghosts – and, unexpectedly, a cover of Abba’s Angel Eyes. Some absolutely beautiful renditions of my favourites: Pale Green Ghosts, Sigourney Weaver, Black Belt in BS, GMF and Glacier. This last one just makes me really emotional – John talked about dedicating it to the Russian gay community which drew a roar of approval from the audience, and for me it is a song of strength in adversity a powerful encouragement to keep going. When I hear them play it on 6Music it makes me stop whatever I’m doing and listen.

set list photo by Simon Baines-Norton
Set list photo by Simon Baines-Norton

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There was an enveloping love for John throughout the audience of this sold-out gig – the only heckling consisted of people telling John they loved him, and him replying “I love you too”. I felt the same when he was kind enough to talk with us (plus sign albums, and have his photo taken) when we were waiting for him after the show. My daughter loved the poster he signed and wrote a message on for her.

So why do we love him so much? For me it is the rich baritone combined with the wry lyrics, the real affection he shows to his audience, his honesty about the depression he has been through, his support for gay rights throughout the world, the magnificent full beard, and maybe the effortless swearing!

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The lovely John Grant and his excellent Icelandic band

One last thing– I asked John what the Pale Green Ghosts were, he told me “They’re Russian olive trees”. Then he got into the band van and they left for London for their show at The Roundhouse tonight.

The Support band Samaris are Icelandic and had a mesmerizing sound – vocals like Bjork – but then maybe that’s what people sound like when they sing in Icelandic? We liked them they got our ‘breathy but nice’ award.

[PS. Hello to Dan if he is reading this – he also spent time with us waiting for John in the cold and though chatting we discovered is a friend of the Nordic Giants!].

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Venue accessibility

The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill is an excellent place to see a band – the acoustics are perfect and the setting beautiful. Plus, they are really good at catering for disabled guests – there is a policy of free tickets for the carer and excellent space on a raised area of the arena for wheelchairs to park. There is a lift up to the different exhibition floors, plus ramps and helpful staff.

See also: My posts on Midlake, Lau, Green Man. Also a few beard-related posts such as my first post ever: ‘Meeting with the Magnificently bearded Philip Aardagh’ and ‘Reservoir blog’.

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2 thoughts on “John Grant: GMF-on-Sea

  1. Lovely to read this and was very surprised to see my pic and photo pop up 🙂 Glad you had such a terrific time too x

    1. Hi Simon – is that okay to show your photo? My partner Marcus said you’d shared it with him on Facebook – I can remove it if you would like me to – or give more credit if you would like me to clarify the source? We had such a good time – still all warm and fuzzy about it today!

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