“If you wonder how someone out of River City can do spoken word electronica,” joked actor and occasional musician of sorts Sanjeev Kohli as he began his first guest turn of the evening, “you forget that Aphex Twin was in Hollyoaks”.
The Grand Gestures | Rating: *** | King Tut’s, Glasgow
It was a welcome moment of comic relief in the final show for The Grand Gestures.
Ex-Spare Snare member Jan Burnett’s lo-fi alliance has amassed a tidy three albums in three years, each featuring various guest vocalists from the Scottish scene.
They won’t play live again mainly for logistical reasons, chiefly the difficulty of getting all the necessary vocalists assembled. Some, such as Kohli, Grahame Skinner and Celie Byrne performed tonight in the flesh; others including Sparrow And The Workshop/BDY_PRTS’ Jill O’Sullivan were pre-recorded.
There was a concerted effort to make this a memorable send-off, with button-pusher Burnett and his two guitarist and drummer bandmates dressed in white lab coats and joke-shop comedy headgear, and a thin see-through curtain drawn over the front of the stage onto which short films were broadcast.
But the melodically austere and downbeat nature of the music made this feel more like a wake than a farewell party. It didn’t exactly add to the visual aesthetic that Windows Media Player controls kept appearing on the screen.
And yet there was no denying the desolate beauty of songs such as The World Will Break Your Heart and Quiet, the latter sung hauntingly by Byrne.
Kohli was back at the end for a reading of The Spree of Brian May – a blackly funny fantasy about Queen’s guitarist going on a rampage – and more much-needed laughter.