Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Life of Live - Robert Forster and Grant McLenan

Despite seeming to have a bar that blocked out a view form a lot of the venue , I headed back to the Jazz Cafe in Camden to see a concert that is one of the best I've ever seen. The Gobetweens had split up a while and I realised I'd missed my chance to see them live.

Then out of the blue came an advert for a concert with Robert Forster and Grant Mclennan playing together. I'd liked the solo lps (Grants' more than Robert's) but I missed the sugar and splice of the 2 of them together. There was just the 2 of them on stage both with acoustic guitars although Robert would occasionally wander over to the piano

I remember two things , one was Robert Forster was dressed in a mustard suit and the second the introduction Robert gave to Cattle and Cain , "this is a guitar and this is a guitar riff..." (I guess you had to be there but it was a goosebumps moment honest.

Below are a couple of clips that give a bit of a flavour , it comes from a live dvd they put out That Striped Sunlight Sound which also had a kind of story of the band told by Robert and Grant through songs section

First up is the lush Bye Bye Pride and that is followed by their best song Cattle and Cain. Whether it knowing what is to come or not but Grant seems to have suddenly aged in these clips


  1. Lovely stuff; poignantly imperfect.
    'Cattle and Cane' in this state reminds me of NZ band The Chills; excellent band, worthy of investigation....

  2. I really enjoyed the "Acoustic Stories" segment of the DVD more than the featured Tivoli concert, which to me seemed a little flat... here come the daggers! Sorry, I guess I'm used to the more polished studio sonics. But the intimacy of seeing Grant and Robert casually revealing inspirations and insight into the stripped down songs was a treat. And RF comes across as a affable, charming chap here! I actually enjoyed a few of Robert's tunes here as well, vocals not as quirky as the studio versions.
    I'm afraid I'll never be qualified to give a proper GoB's dissertation, carrying such a heavy GM bias. There are certain voices that I've got a genetic predisposition for finding unpalatable... Thom Yorke, Scott Walker's later stuff, even Dylan... more daggers!!!

    Dave, did Trev tell you about the "Freakchild" sessions I found? May be of interest to you. I'll send a link in your E-mail box...

  3. Tim,
    still hoping that you'll do a 'TT' piece on GBs, Freackchild etc...
    The acoustics in these front room singalongs is... ok; guitars sound great; Grant needed miking up; his voice sounds quite fragile here...

  4. Aye Captain, I'm not qualified to do a piece on the GoB's! I'd only be telling half the story... The GM part. Until my recent read of the bio, my only exposure was the records, oh and the DVD. I have all of Grant's CD's and zero of RF! Hardly fair and balanced reporting...
    I'll leave this to you GoB's veterans to do proper justice, an unbiased account of the band's history...

    1st time typing on a friggin' IPod... My fat little fingers aren't made for this!


  5. Hi Trev

    I really like the chills got 3of their lps - heavenly pop hit does exactly what it says on the tin!
    I know what you mean Tim re voices - i know i should really like Radiohead al ot more than i do but i just find TY voice a bit whiney. I'll have to disagree on Scott Walker but Dylan .......most over rated artist ever (got a real blind spot i know)

  6. You're a brave man if you can sit through 'Tilt' and 'Drift'... like stepping into a nightmare. A couple of other voices that I can't handle: Bjork and that godawful James Blunt. Also when I first hears The Cave by Mumford I ran out and got the CD pronto, but a few tracks into listening I'd had enough! Yet I can listen to Mercury Rev, Sigur Ros, even Rush! Strange?
    Voices I love... PB, LC, Hawley, Paddy, James Grant, Currie, Ross, Tracey Thorn, Sally (Hem), Chris Rea, Joni, and of course that Jones guy!
    Regarding the GoB's DVD Tivoli concert... was it really good?

  7. I got into the GoB's just when they were splitting up so was glad they came back around. Thanks for the reminder of their '99 shows and Forster's mustard suit! I also remember him insulting the sound guy on the night I was there, and claiming 'The Wrong Road' was McLennan's best song. All in all, a great show and worth travelling up to see.

  8. Hi Tony

    thatnks for the comment. Often when a band "comes back" it can all go pearshaped - but the mark 2 version made some of their best songs


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