London Camden Dingwalls

Tonight it seems fitting that these machines of theirs are as fallible as the humans who made them...

The machines, of course, will always let you down in a pinch. You might have imagined that by now, with [a]Grandaddy[/a] LP number two about to drop and a couple of live road-years of beating those pesky black boxes into submission, that singer Jason Lytle wouldn’t be chuckling, “This is so unprofessional” as a bit of stray circuitry puts paid to half the new songs they were going to play tonight.

Such, however, is the errant beauty of [a]Grandaddy[/a]. Despite their burgeoning profile and the new confidence sloshing around on the long-awaited ‘The Sophtware Slump’ record, there is always a chance that technology will fail in a full house. That the lights will go out. That the rocket ship will crash.

And that things will carry on regardless. Jason will just play more guitar. It’s a recurrent theme this, of technological pitfalls embraced. Certainly, no other band could get away with a tune called ‘Broken Household Appliance National Forest’ that’s part sinister whirr, part crunchy guitar and all about obsolescent technology being absorbed back into nature. Like, rock’n’roll! In the soft-focus, clunky design world [a]Grandaddy[/a] have charted for themselves with fuzzy guitars and vintage synths, though, it draws deranged cheers. As does the clinically-titled new offering ‘Chartsengrafs’ – against the odds, an organic rock-out.

Indeed, somewhere between their last London outing in a pub back room and tonight, these skewwhiff modernists have finally found the devotees they’ve long deserved. Naturally, it’s all a bit of a shock to them, this ecstatic multitude bellowing along to ‘Summer Here Kids’ and grasping hands making for their gear. It’s probably a lot quieter in (their hometown) Modesto at night. But with every tune, the gruff, bearded semi-recluses of recent memory seem to relax into the flawed humanity of it all: ‘Hewlett’s Daughter’ taking their glowing chug down to charming basics, ‘Everything Beautiful Is Far Away’ sodden with wistfulness, ‘AM 180’‘s chorus of, “Whatever/Together” infused with warm meaning. The more false starts they make, the more they grin. “We’re being ruled by machines,” jokes Jason, as the technology gangs up on them once again. Somehow, though, tonight it seems fitting that these machines of theirs are as fallible as the humans who made them.