Pale Green Ghosts

John Grant Live at Rough Trade East

Pale Green Ghosts
John Grant at Rough Trade East

John Grant played a short show at Rough Trade East in order to celebrate coming third in my albums of the year being granted the honour of being Rough Trade’s Album of the Year 2013 for Pale Green Ghosts.

Grant’s album is a stunning record, and well deserving of the title bestowed upon it by Rough Trade. Grant thanked his band and record label, Bella Union, adding sincerely “This sounds like I’m giving a speech at the Oscars but this is like getting an Oscar for me”.

Playing six songs from “Pale Green Ghosts” and one from debut solo LP “Queen of Denmark“, this was a celebration of the new record, which is a break up album that contains some dark humour. Grant opened with “Vietnam“, and introduced “It Doesn’t Matter To Him” with a wry “Now something even more depressing…”

Pale Green Ghosts Album of the Year

So what is special about John Grant, and this album in particular? For me, it’s the combination of a glorious voice with great melodies (“Where The Dreams Go To Die” is the kind of ballad Elton John would have given his collection of spectacles for in the seventies), added to which is a pottymouth and a dark sense of humour mixed with anger. What more could you want?

The brief set ended with a climactic Glacier, introduced as being a song about how the USA is not a theocracy… It’s a magnificent, strange and wonderful song and Grant and his band certainly did it justice live.

Grant sings this song with Sinead O’Connor on an EP of Duets called “JG Gets Schooled”, alongside a version of “It Doesn’t Matter To Him” with Beth Orton.

The JG Gets Schooled EP is available on vinyl and with an excellent value deluxe version of the CD.

Set list

  • Vietnam
  • It Doesn’t Matter To Him
  • Pale Green Ghosts
  • Black Belt
  • Where The Dreams Go To Die
  • GMF
  • Glaciers


5 responses to “John Grant Live at Rough Trade East”

  1. marycigarettes Avatar

    my fave album too…it’s a hunky dory for the 21st century…
    i’m reeeeeal old now,
    but if i was a teenager living in a bedsit,as i did in the 1970’s, pale green ghosts would be there.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      I like that – ” a hunky dory for the 21st century”.


  2. John S Avatar

    “Pale Green Ghosts” is featuring in a lot of top tens. I’m gonna have to listen to it!


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      It’s made a lot of lists hasn’t it? Deserves its place too..


  3. […] I championed new music. The likes of Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Drenge, Royal Blood, London Grammar, John Grant, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett and (most recently) This Is The […]


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