John Grant: Rough Trade NYC In-Store Performance

John Grant, the artist behind Rough Trade's album of the year, was part of the NYC store's second week of shows. Before they had to stop.
John Grant

John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts has deservedly found its way into several end of the year best of lists, including #5 at Mojo and #9 at Q. But Grant received top marks from the UK music institution, Rough Trade, who honored him with ‘Album of the Year’. To celebrate, Grant is performing in-store at Rough Trade East on the 9th of December but before that he graced the stage of Rough Trade’s new NYC store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The store had only opened the prior week, before the Thanksgiving holiday, and in its performance space had hosted Television, Charles Bradley and many others — sometimes more than one show a day (after Grant’s set, We Are Scientists were schedule to perform). Grant’s show, including the one the night before just down the road at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, were considered “stripped down” and didn’t include a drummer — just three folks on stage instead of the five or six from when I saw him in July.

With an impending album signing session and the aforementioned show after, Grant’s set itself was short, about forty-five minutes or so, but he included songs from his first solo album, Queen of Denmark, like “Sigourney Weaver” and “Where Dreams Go to Die”, alongside Pale Green Ghosts tracks, “It Doesn’t Matter to Him”, the devastating “Glacier”, and the tongue-in-cheek triumph over an ex-, “GMF” (aka Greatest Motherfucker). Afterwards, the small crowd (Grant seems to be under the radar in the US, which should really change) lined up to meet the man.

Unfortunately, since Grant’s show, Rough Trade NYC has halted live performances in its store because “additional sound remediation work” needs to be carried out. Some of the planned shows, like Nick Lowe, have been transferred to other local venues, while others, like Andrew Bird, were outright cancelled. It is unknown when the curtain will rise again as the work is being planned out / undertaken.