How had I not seen this band until now? They’ve been around since 1992 for heaven’s sake!
Date: March 29, 2017
Venue: Rock City
Having formed way back in 1992 after professional skater Jason Lyttle suffered a serious knee injury and turned his attention to music, the fact that Grandaddy existed at all was a case of happenstance. But the fact they exist in 2017 is the biggest eye opener. But from nowhere, amidst a music scene that has no real pigeonhole for them anymore, they’re back, and have returned with new album Last Place, a startling return to form. It’s how The Flaming Lips would sound if they quit goofing around with avant-space-jazz.
Taking to the stage just after 8:30, with a 10pm curfew, it’s apparent right from the off that this gig is going to be ‘The Grandaddy Show’, and what a show it is; a stunning reminder of the band’s spaced out, hazy indie rock which we never thought we’d hear live again.
But hear it we do, and as Lyttle’s lazy Californian brogue opens their slacker classic Hewlett’s Daughter, we’re instantly transported back 17 years.
The biggest cheer is reserved, quite rightly, for A.M. 180, arguably their best song. It’s wonky synth work on the live stage make it sound like an ice cream van wired up to the National Grid.
The Crystal Lake also bobs along on waves of frazzled Gameboy squiggles while their inner gonzo geek is unleashed on the 10-minute opus of He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot which peaks and troughs with scuzzy wonderment.
Grandaddy have always wore the colours of one of indie’s great underachievers, peaking briefly before plummeting and then hiding away in a corner of Montana. Luckily for us, Lyttle’s decision to reconvene appears to be a very good one.