Grant Hart / Perverted
12.11.08 STUK, LeuvenSpecial occasions make me travel. It's been six years since Grant Hart's last trip to Europe and even 13 years since I last saw him live (at the Café Gonzo in Nijmegen) so my best mate Michael and I had to go to Leuven to refresh our addiction to one of our musical heroes.
When we arrived at the Labozaal of the STUK, Perverted, the support act from Belgium, were already playing. Their music didn't impress me too much though I have to admit their female singer has a tremendous voice which reminded me of Sleater-Kinney.
Then the man himself entered the stage having lost some weight and gained a lot of wrinkles over the years. He started his set with a new song probably called Improbable Man according to the chorus. The other two yet unreleased songs of the evening, You're The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water and Barbara, were not so new as he had already played them live over the past six years. Apart from these tracks he delivered a fine blend of Hüsker Dü, Nova Mob and solo songs. The sound at the STUK was really good and though Grant's voice was a bit hoarse it was strong enough to fill the room and send shivers down our spines, espesially with songs like Please Don't Ask or The Main. At the end of his set the three male members from Perverted also joined in to back him up for three songs, Evergreen Memorial Drive, Admiral Of The Sea and Little Miss Information. With a full line up the old magic of Nova Mob seemed to return.
Grant then returned for an encore including Over My Head and The Last Days Of Pompeii and even came back a second time to finish the evening with a heartbreaking version of Diane requested by the audience.
After the show Grant told me how this collaboration with the guys from Perverted came about: he returned to Belgium from the show in Zürich the day before and after having slept only one hour he arrived at the STUK when Perverted were doing their soundcheck. They asked him whether he liked to be backed up by them for a few songs and he was too polite to say no. He really enjoyed this band experience though he said that when getting together a touring band again he'd look for one sounding more quiet as it has been quite a strain for his voice to play with a full band again.
Together with the fact that his new album is finished, after recording it over the past three years with members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor in Montreal, this makes me look forward that it doesn't take him six years again before he comes on tour the next time.
Songs played (though not in the right order):
Improbable Man / You're The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water / Barbara / Please Don't Ask / 2541 / Teeny's Hair / Remains To Be Seen / The Main / Come, Come / Never Talking To You Again / Pink Turns To Blue / Books About UFOs / Terms Of Psychic Warfare / She Floated Away / Sorry Somehow / Over My Head / The Last Days Of Pompeii / Diane / Evergreen Memorial Drive (w/ Perverted) / Admiral Of The Sea (w/ Perverted) / Little Miss Information (w/ Perverted)