John Grant in concert from this past weekend in Liverpool to start the week. I know people say the first big festival of the year is supposed to be SXSW (although there would be a lot of argument that it’s really not a festival as much as one giant Demo session) and historically, the first big Spring festival in Europe is Primavera Sound in Barcelona, the BBC 6 Music Festival in Liverpool from March 29-31 has proven to be one of the great kick-offs to the season and really has been setting the tone for everybody else.
Like all truly inclusive music festivals, The BBC 6 Music Festival covers a wide range of contemporary music, and they’ve booked some strong acts and some very strong up-and-comers. It is the festival to watch.
John Grant gave a stunning performance for this opening night of the festival. Grant has been on the radar for a while now and has been picking up a loyal following along the way both here in the states and in Europe – proof that was the enthusiastic reception Grant received in Liverpool.
There’s much to tell about Grant: how the demise of his first band The Czars led him to abandon music for five years before an instantly acclaimed solo career, chart success (Grey Tickles… went Top Five in the UK) and a Best International Male Solo Artist nomination at the 2014 BRITS alongside Eminem and Justin Timberlake. Sinead O’Connor and Tracey Thorn have guested on Grant’s records, he’s sung live with Alison Goldfrapp and Kylie Minogue, performed at the 2017 Songs Of Scott Walker (1967-70) BBC Prom, and co-written/sung on Hercules & Love Affair and Robbie Williams albums. Last Autumn he recorded the “Kindling” duet with Elbow then went on to tour with them this Spring. His music has been used in films such as Andrew Haigh’s drama Weekend and Daisy Asquith’s Queerama. In 2016, he fronted BBC Radio 4’s Reimagining The City, taking listeners around Reykjavik, where Grant has lived since 2012; in April 2017 he curated North Atlantic Flux: Sounds from Smoky Bay in Hull, showcasing thrilling and innovative musicians from Scandinavia and Iceland. But that is the past, just as Grant’s autobiography, for publishers Little, Brown, is the future. The present is Love Is Magic, the latest installment in Grant’s astonishing story.
In case you missed this one last weekend or wanted to hear it again, hit the play button and crank it up – a warm glow will emanate from your screen. We’re in good hands.