Written By | Lindsey Sobkowski
John Grant played his headline Detroit show on December 5th in El Club, nestled in Mexicantown. The doors opened at 8pm which lead to a small room within the bar and restaurant of the club. The show started about 40 minutes later with the opener of the night being Two Medicine, a solo project by Paul Alexander and with additional live vocalist Aimee Adams.
The duo performed music that had psychedelic tendencies and an overall ethereal feeling. Their vibrant synths and beats made the small room feel awakened and like it was buzzing with activity. They have dazzling instrumentals that make you feel like you’re in a dreamlike state of reality, almost like you’re in a beautiful, lush setting instead of a small club venue. The two individuals also know how to tone the mood down with acoustic tunes overlaid with haunting vocals provided by Adams. At the conclusion of their set, the eager crowd was stirring with jittery excitement for the headliner John Grant. See More Photos of Two Medicine Here. See More Videos of Two Medicine’s Performance Here.
As Grant is a Michigan native, he for sure has a small yet and strong fan base- and Grant proves why so. He walked onstage with a grin as the instrumental heavy tune ‘Tempest’ began to play. The synths sounded like something from a space odyssey adventure film. In every song, his robust vocals filled the room wall to wall with power, especially during the song ‘Grey Tickles, Black Pressure’, which is a piano ballad with delicately placed guitar strums that later swelled into full band anthem-like sound. His voice still gleams through when heavy, heart clattering synths are added to the equation, which most of the set consisted of. These synths are paired with many harsh yet refreshing lyrics. He prefaced one of his hardest hitting songs of the night “Jesus Hates Faggots” by prefacing “This is a song my grandma used to sing to me”.
Many of his lyrics unpack the struggles that come with him being an openly gay man in today’s society. His painfully honest lyrics left a heavy impact on the mind, but the pulsating beats and entrancing sounds gave a happy juxtaposition that made it impossible not to dance. Many of his lyrics touched on the many uncertainties of life, for instance “Google who you think you can’t trust”. This lyric was an attention grabber as it gives the reminder that, especially in the world of today, you must be cautious in whom you put your trust into.
He also had reflective moments in songs, “I am nowhere near as awkward as I once was when I was younger” being one of the standout lyrics. These words gave me as well as many other audience members a reminder of just how far we’ve come and just how much we’ve achieved, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
The night was certainly special though for both the audience and Grant himself when he mentioned how he was going back to his hometown Buchanan the following day to show his band mates around. The element of sentimentality was truly one of a kind that night. It certainly is a feeling that’ll be cherished by fans. His lyrics and feeling of security and safety did not really provide an escape from the daily grind of life, but more so gave insights and reminders of how to carry and conduct our very lives. See More Photos of John Grant Here. See More Videos of John Grant’s Performance Here. https://youtu.be/jBb1aU5d70g https://youtu.be/c6835DMEeAo