Grandaddy, O2 ABC, Glasgow | New music reviews, news & interviews
Grandaddy, O2 ABC, Glasgow
California indie rockers' Welcome Back Tour hits Glasgow
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.”
Listen to "AM 180"
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Experimental songwriter returns to his roots on gut-wrenching new album
Fragmentation and wilfulness on the three 2 Tone albums by Jerry Dammers and his cohorts
The Essex rave juggernaut's sixth is unapologetically ballistic
Post-jazzers add ambient dub to a spacey, love-infused mix
Touching field recordings from Vietnam
Punk poppers give the beginning of the week an almighty shot in the arm
Russia’s counterpart to North Britain’s Eighties miserablists harnesses the power of song
Echo & the Bunnymen singer successfully retrieves a concert initially marred by his own unpleasantness
As all-encompassing as it gets on massive, thought-provoking Northern Soul box set
Festival perennial replenishes the soul with good vibes
A triumphant end to a tour of ancient songs sung in sacred places
Introspective songstress reaches for her inner rock chick