It made sense for me to discover today in preparation of writing this short review that Grandaddy share a hometown, Modesto, California with George Lucas. Hence perhaps the fascination with machinery, plaid shirts, (see American Graffiti), and beards. They're a haunted band, spooked by technology, the receding Western frontier and our shared disappearing youth.
They were great last Sunday, in a sold out gig close to the Ouseburn Valley, part of Newcastle's glorious industrial heartland which became a wasteland on its decline from the sixties onward and then rose again as a music, arts and drinking district thanks to an injection of lottery money twenty years back . The venue was oddly fitting, not one I'd been to previously, a glorified pig shed with portacabin toilets outside the front doors that flushed automatically while you were mid-pee, The friend I went with asked 'Is it Auschwitz?' when we first turned the corner. Fortunately it was not. The venue was fine, so were the acoustics, and so very much, were the band.
Grandaddy are fittingly, (given their name), a band that make increasing sense with the passing of time. The Sophtware Slump, their 2000 album, (and probably the record of that year), is their definitive statement, Half The Beach Boys decide to form a band with half of Kraftwerk and forge the legacy of the quieter more reflective side of Grunge onto the union. But despite this record being so good that it says all they really need to, they continue to make excellent ones seventeen years on. Their album from this year Last Place is mighty fine. They also played a sterling set last Sunday, which told the whole story of their recording history from their earliest days to now, all to a filmed backdrop of American nature, the whole thing one of the most beautiful eerie experiences of estranged, joyous modern nostalgia you could possibly hope for. It was also Jason Lyttle's birthday which felt nice!