The Delancey is a tough spot for a melancholy performance with just a man and his keyboard. As the obnoxious generic dance music from upstairs bled through the floor and down into the basement, where The Czars frontman John Grant took the stage Monday night, it could have been quite a distraction to the performance. Fortunately, Grant’s dark lyrics, brilliant melodies and powerful voice was enough to not only drown out the shit from upstairs, but also kept his devoted crowd hanging on his every word.
Seeing The Czars as a one-piece was a unique experience, allowing the audience to really soak in the heartbroken songwriting. The Colorado-based quartet was stripped down to one man, one microphone and his trusty keyboard. The normally lush, soulful ballads were reduced to their absolute core, giving Grant an opportunity to make his voice the main instrument for the forty-minute set.
Monday night marked the first performance of his month long residency at The Delancey. The dingy stage provided the perfect setting for The Czars’ tales of sadness and pain. The soft-spoken John Grant got behind his keyboard promptly at 9pm, mixing in songs of both old and new. One of the standouts from the night was “Little Pink House”, which is on their latest album Goodbye. Towards the end of the song, Grant’s keyboard cut out, leaving nothing but vocals to conclude the song. Although it was a technical problem, it actually made for a truly remarkable ending.
For our NYC readers, you still have a few opportunities to catch The Czars at the Delancey He has three sets left on the month-long residency, with performances on February 13, 20 and 27. Do yourself a favor and catch John Grant while he is in the Big Apple.