thu 27/11/2014

Grandaddy, O2 ABC, Glasgow | New music reviews, news & interviews

Grandaddy, O2 ABC, Glasgow

California indie rockers' Welcome Back Tour hits Glasgow

So much for retirement... Jason Lytle reunites GrandaddyChris Boland/ www.distantcloud.co.uk

Jason Lytle has a “fervent appreciation”, he says, “for bands that don’t exist anymore”. It’s why he’s playing the cover of “Here”, by Pavement, that has become a staple of his band Grandaddy’s live sets on this open-ended reunion tour, although it doesn’t explain why the time is right for a Grandaddy reunion in the first place.

Not that any of the caps or plaid shirts under the ABC’s giant disco ball were complaining, of course. While it seems that these days Nineties alternative bands will reunite at the drop of a hat - or a royalty cheque - you would have been hard-pressed to find any cynical reactions to the announcement that the California five-piece was planning to play its first shows together since Lytle announced its split in 2006. Billed as the “Welcome Back Tour” (subtitle: "now it’s on ... again") there are rumours that renewed collaboration could even lead to another album.

They did that slacker-psychedelic Americana-infused sound first, and they can rewrite the rules any time they want to

I arrived just as the band launched into “AM 180”, the one you’re likely to know even if you’ve barely heard of the band because of both its strategic use in soundtracks and its ridiculously catchy electronic riff. The crowd was just as happy to sing along with those familiar notes as it was with the words, while a surreal video montage behind the band showed a fluffy ginger cat fighting with a dog.

Drawing heavily from Grandaddy's critically acclaimed millennial album The Sophtware Slump and its follow-up Sumday, the set was peppered with tracks which, in some alternative universe, would have been the band’s big hits: “El Caminos in the West”; “The Crystal Lake” and “Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake” - the last greeted with the sort of cheer that would normally fill a football stadium rather than a mid-sized venue as the song's identity became apparent during a mischievously laboured introduction.

While there’s no denying that Lytle knows how to pen a perfect pop riff his songs are often ponderous things. Grandaddy are the sort of band that can make you rock back and forth, in that oh-so-noncommittal way that people sometimes do at rock concerts, just as easily as pogo like a teenager. “Levitz (Birdless)”, an early B-side, began in such a fashion, until halfway through the song collapsed into a crazed feedbacky breakdown, as if to remind us all that they did that slacker-psychedelic Americana-infused sound first, and they can rewrite the rules any time they want to.

So much for retirement, then. The band’s Twitter bio hints that an ending is not yet in sight, as does their choice of “He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot” as a closer. “You lost your maps, you lost the plans,” Lytle sings, “it’s nice to have you back again.”

Follow Lis Ferla on Twitter

View Chris Boland's website and see more of his music photography

Listen to "AM 180"


The set was peppered with tracks which, in an alternative universe, would have been the band’s big hits

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