James Grant, The Forge, April 2013

For those that are still willing to listen I will happily tell them that my all time favorite album is Strange Kind of Love by Love & Money. I first saw them while at Uni in about 1986 and then not again until they reformed in 2011. However, over the years I have continued to buy what they released and following their demise the releases of front man James Grant.

I love listening to music that is thoughtful and thought provoking and Grant’s output has that by the bucket load so when I saw that he was playing a gig at The Anvil in Basingstoke I had tickets snapped up before telling Helen she was going!

However, it wasn’t just Helen that was surprised they were going to the gig as these tweets illustrate.

Basingstoke while being convenient for the residents of Reading turns out to be less so for those from Glasgow…

I said above that the gig was in the Anvil which while true it is actually made up of three theatres and Grant was in The Forge, the smallest of the three, the largest being occupied by someone called Suggs. And when I say small I mean it. This is literally a cupboard under the stairs holding, I would guess, less than 200 people at capacity or 50ish last night.

This led to it being a pretty intimate gig, especially as we were on the front row and less than four feet away from the “stage”. The whole thing had a really homely feel to it, like it was in your living room (and James if you’re reading this and fancy popping round to do a gig, feel free!).

Given the numbers there the audience was made up of what could be considered a hard-core following who were all knowledgeable of Grant’s back catalogue and appreciative of his willingness to make the trip South. We were treated to a great selection spanning from Friends Again era right through to the tracks recorded recently and digitally released, such as the excellent In a Broken Dream. There was even a spell of shout out and I will attempt to play it at the end.

I really like the way that Grant goes about making his music. The aforementioned In a Broken Dream and the more recent State of Art have both been digitally released as single tracks, the former after asking for suggestions on Twitter for what he should record.

At the end of the gig there were CDs for sale and I was keen to grab a copy of Strange Kind of Love Live in Glasgow. Grant appeared with a couple of boxes of CDs and when I enquired as to what they were was told one was the SKOL cd and the other was his latest release Strange Flowers. I pointed out that I had been lucky enough to have won a copy of that in a Facebook competition he had run earlier this year to which he replied “Are you Neil?”. I didn’t know whether to be chuffed that he had remembered my name or sad that his fan base is so small that he knows us all personally!

Either way we had a fantastic time and I would implore you to check him out on Soundcloud where you can hear a selection of solo and Love and Money tracks. The music industry needs more James Grants.