Grantura - The Social, London

It's London's West End on a warm and barmy Tuesday evening. What better than to experience a slice of country and rock n roll at The Social, just up from Oxford Circus and off the infamous Great Portland Street.

These kinds of evenings can be a bit of a mixed bag; unsigned acts playing for free at a bar venue are not always guaranteed to be of the highest level, but tonight Grantura change any preconceptions you may have about that. These guys deserve to be on a label and distributed to a wider audience. Tonight they're supporting Steven Adams of The Broken Family Band and basically embarrass his later hissy fit... but more of that later.

The first thing that strikes you about Grantura is how many there are of them. On the tiniest stage I've ever seen, six grown men (none with beards surprisingly) are squeezed together; two guitarists, drummer, bassist, mandolin / banjo player and a proper lead singer. As their set begins, it's the vocal harmonies that instantly spark up the ears; these guys sound so damned tight, it's obvious that they've been playing together for some time. Bringing to mind Teenage Fanclub at their best, lead singer Matthew Owen has a hint of Gram Parsons about his voice, maybe not the strongest, but direct and captivating. Their playing it also of the highest standard - to my ears at least there's not a duff chord nor movement, everything has been rehearsed and tightened that even the chatter at the beginning of their set his dimmed towards it's finale.

It can be odd to hear a British band play "country" music, but these guys have infused their obvious Americana influences into a very British band - they're not trying to be American, it's just the way they've ended up sounding. The obvious influences of Parsons-era Byrds, Dylan and The Band may make it seem like a retro-fest, but there's something forward looking about them. Like Wilco with their perversion of country music, so to Grantura are looking more forward than back. Their 40 minute set passes so quickly that the crowd want more, and not just from the groupies down front. The highlight of the set was certainly the closer "In Dreams" (which can be previewed on their Myspace site) with it's shifting rhythms, duelling guitar lines and uplifting harmonies, this is something that more people than those lucky enough to be in this small bar deserve to hear and bathe in it's silky goodness.

As a passing comment, Steven Adams from the Broken Family Band was headlining his side-project, The Singing Adams, this evening but really didn't capture the audience nor the imagination. Throwing a fit with the crowd for not being quiet whilst he was playing, it seemed as though this venue and situation was below him and that he was expecting instant adoration. His gentle ruminations were not something that would silence them... Let's just hope the Family Band doesn't end in divorce, or I think we'll be left with something very messy.

For more information, see Grantura's Myspace site... it even includes the excellent "In Dreams"

Last updated: 19/04/2018 04:40:40

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