John Grant – Union Chapel, Islington, May 2nd 2017

I arrived in Islington, right outside the church, just before 5pm. A wonderful moment of serendipity took place. As I was taking this photo of this sign showing the way to the Arsenal ground (I had no idea it was that close by and I was only taking the pic so I could show Jim and make some “The Arse” comment on the SMO FB page), this young woman approached me and said “are you here for the John Grant concert?” I replied, “Yes, I am.” “Ah, I thought I recognised you from the group. I’ve seen you on the group, yes?”, she says to me.  I thought she was referring to John Grant’s own Facebook page, so I said “Yes.”


We introduced each other to ourselves. Her name is Anita, and she was there with her father. A very sweet man, but his English is not strong. They are Polish but live in north London. 

Anita tells me a group of fans had planned to meet up in the pub we were standing outside of. We go in, order a drink, and while doing so, other members of the group show up. As it transpires, Anita wasn’t referring to John’s own FB page, but a fan page called The John Grant GMF Fan Group (aka The GMFs). There are over 700 fans in the group and several of them I met yesterday had been to the North Atlantic Flux festival that John was involved with in Hull over the weekend.  DEDICATED fans! But they absolutely welcomed me with open arms and gave me a badge for joining the group.


It was all so very wonderful.

As for the gig itself? Support act Satellites was really quite good. A one man band the guy was…but he was great. He performed about 7 songs and I really enjoyed him.



20 minutes to set up for JG and on he comes, to absolutely raptuous applause. You could just feel the love spilling out of everybody there for this man. I mean, really. I had never quite felt love like it from a gourp of fans for an artist. And he’s so beautiful amd humble…he just shyly replied in his soft-spoken voice “thank you all so very much”. He referred to himself as a “scatterbrain” as he had not organised anyone to film it, and he wanted to send out a message to his friend Oleg – this was a charity gig after all, to raise funds for Oleg to get a kidney transplant. 

John asked if a member of the audience was willing to go up and film as he spoke a few words in Russian to Oleg and then to turn the camera onto us, the audience, to show the people that had come out to see John by way of helping Oleg. It was very moving.

John introed his band and then we were under way. The first song he performed (if you have been following my blog lately, you’ll know the favourites I have) was TC & Honeybear…and I was off…in a flood of tears.

He is…just…so goddamn near to perfection as I have ever seen in a performer. He just makes it look so effortless. And his voice is incredible.

I hadn’t planned to record anything…but he started Marz and I thought, I just have to capture a bit. I missed the start (couldn’t turn my phone back on quickly enough!)…but…well, you can hear the acoustics of the place and how amazing he sounded.

A while in he performed Vietnam and Where Dreams Go To Die and I was crying AGAIN. Glacier got me going to. And then towards the end he did Fireflies and Caramel back to back…and OMG…the tears were just streaming down my face.

It was such an amazing show. I could tell we were approaching the end and in my head I was like “Oh, please don’t let it stop! I don’t want it to end! When will I see him again?”

It was…phenomenal, astounding. Profound. Everything I imagined it to be and more! 

Thank you to the people I met last night: Anita, her dad, Duvessa, Claire, Lisbeth, Jacqueline, Fraser, Karren, Wayne, the Kiwi lady and her husband (I have since learned are Kay and Rob – I am so sorry I forgot your names!) and other names I have forgotten. All you guys made me feel so welcome. Thank you! 


And thank you to John for such an amazing, extraordinary concert. You really ARE the GMF! 

God bless to Oleg xx

2 thoughts on “John Grant – Union Chapel, Islington, May 2nd 2017

  1. Wonderful story and review. The sound on your video is excellent. As a fan who only recently joined the GMF Facebook group,I was very moved. As you listed the songs, I could feel my own tears welling up. I’ve been lucky enough to see him twice here in Dublin. What a talent. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you…for leaving the comment! It means so much that there are people out there reading my review and it maybe helps them relive their own experiences of seeing John live. I am so glad my own first experience was at such a special show. I hope to see round the GMF FB group 🙂 ❤️

      Like

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