I thought I saw an angel join in

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John Grant

Halifax Minster

John Grant sits at a grand piano mourning his grandma who lived in a pink house with blue polka dots.

As his lament rises into the roof, the golden angels above the choir stalls look down approvingly.

I think I saw one of them join in.

The Queen of Denmark was my favourite album of 2010, a view shared by readers of Mojo magazine.

After hearing the songs live, performed on piano and a keyboard that sounded as if it was rescued from the Tardis and only partially mended, it is one of my favourite albums ever.

John Grant shares with us memories, images, feelings that have inspired him to construct songs whose delicacy perfectly captures the uncertainty of loving, losing and loving again.

I Wanna Go to Marz – a song mainly a list of his favourite sweets – has us sobbing in the aisles.

He performs “Caramel” and we realize we are hearing one of the most beautiful love songs ever written.

But who does he sound like? I hear you cry.

Maybe Nick Cave singing the Carpenters, or Elton John if Rufus Wainwright had replaced Bernie Taupin.

Earlier Kathryn Edwards and cellist Sinead beguiled us with what Grant described as a “pristine and beautiful voice”.

He wasn’t wrong. Each note she sang felt carefully selected. This was the exact right note – no other would do.

Occasionally she would throw her head back as if amazed by the sound she was making.

The Doghouse have brought us The Unthanks, Merissa Nadler and I am Kloot in the Minster.

Friday night topped the lot. If you haven’t got Queen of Denmark, buy it.

If you weren’t at Halifax Minster last Friday, make sure you get to the next gig there.

If you answered yes to both of the above you know what John Grant meant when he sang “You opened up heaven for me with just one smile”.

By Ant Cotton