published: 20 /
Anthony Strutt finds the Willard Grant Conspiracy on superb form as they both play a heartfelt and very human set at the Luminaire in London
Tonight's show is part of an American Music Festival spread over a fortnight at London's Luminaire venue. This venue is the most muso of all venues because if you want to talk during a band's performance the venue's management will personally tell you to shut up.
The Willard Grant Conspiracy are an acquired taste. The songs of the band's front man and the group's only permanent member Robert Fisher, like those of Mark Eitzel, are often dark and lonely with just a touch of humour. They have a very sad but very human quality, and there is a great sense of belonging in Robert's pre and after songs; conversation with his audience.
Tonight's set at just over 85 minutes is shorter than average for a Willard Grant Conspiracy London show. The band are also not promoting anything new, despite having just finished a new album, 'The Lost Weekend', up in Scotland which is due for release early next year.
Robert begins by telling his audience that they can disco dance under the mirrorball that hangs down from the ceiling of the venue should anyone want to, but nobody does. The first four songs are delivered as a 3 piece, before the first support band, Glaswegian act Doghouse Roses, who also play on the new record, join the rest of the group on stage.
Tonight we get songs about death ('River in the Pines', ), Archie the cockroach ('Sticky'), a song co- written by Steve Wynn whom forgot he co-wrote it ('Flying Low'), the devil ('The Trial of Harrison Hayes') and more death ('The Ghost of the Girl in the Well' and 'Let It Roll')
A dark evening but definitely worth going out in the cold for.
The photographs that accompany bthis article were taken by Laurent Orseau