John Grant To further celebrate Hull being City of Culture, 2017, John Grant was asked to curate a musical festival over the May Bank Holiday weekend. John freely admits in interviews that he simply gave a list of artists he loves and would like to see and other people did the rest, but then he’s always been extremely modest.


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3 Ring Circus The 3 Ring Circus is the genius idea of having three artists, each playing three venues in the same city, curated by Sheffield’s very own Richard Hawley. The three artists being John Grant, Bill Ryder-Jones and Richard Hawley himself. The venues are The Upper Chapel, University Drama Studio and the Trafalgar Warehouse all in Sheffield. The plan is that the audience go to a specific venue and the artists perform, before jumping in a cab and going to another venue, thereby playing each. It’s a brilliant idea and on reflection was a beautiful and magical evening.


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John Grant Here at GigJunkies we're lucky-so-and-so's as we go to some fantastic events and festivals. John Grant is just one of those events. Since our review of the intimate Royal Shakespeare Company gig back in 22 June 2014, John has released his glorious "Grey Tickles, Black Pressure" album back in October 2015. Interestingly he touched upon the reason for the title explaining that "Grey Tickles" is a translation from Icelandic to describe entering middle-age, which is a lovely way to see it, far more cheeky and certainly in John's style. "Black Pressure" was also mentioned as being Turkish for "nightmare", which was quite the opposite from tonight, as it was a dream.


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John Grant Having last toured the UK in 2013 in support of the distinctly electro flavoured Pale Green Ghosts album Grant’s back this time with a modest, ahem, 34 piece orchestra in tow. It makes sense though given the lushness of that voice and the soaring songs (many of which focus on Grant’s struggles to come to terms with himself, his life and his loves) that practically cry out for the gravitas that only a full fat orchestra can really deliver. The venue’s pretty perfect too, Brum’s grand old Town Hall, a Victorian Grade I listed building that’s seen everyone from Charles Dickens to Black Sabbath do their thang (although sadly not on the same night).


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John Grant Gemma Ray strikes me as the sort of girl you might see in a Tarantino movie, with her retro beehiveesque hair, and knife wielding guitar strumming, she’s that heady mix of ‘sweet sixteen’ & edgy B girl femininity. Ray has already a large number of album’s under her belt, and brings a selection here tonight along with her bequiffed and enthusiastic drummer, and shoe gazing bass player. It’s hard to define Ray’s music so many are it’s influences, from bottle slide blues to spaghetti western soundtracks, I’m quite surprised to learn she’s not American (but from the south of England). Central to her sound is the use of a customised Hagström guitar, which she wields with ease, later in the set drawing her large blade like a gun and pulling it across the strings to dramatic effect, eventually discarding the knife like a scene from a fairground sideshow. Ray is the perfect lead in to John Grant, the headline act tonight.


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John Grant For lovers of beautiful vocals and glorious lyrics tonight’s pairing of the fairly recently rediscovered genius John Grant and relative newcomer (although at just 20 he’s already one of the hottest names in his native Iceland) Ásgeir Trausti was a soul lifting treat from start to finish.


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