with Jim White
The Sapphire Supper Club, Orlando, FL • April 20, 2001
As pseudo hillbilly-cum-experimental messiah Jim White tried to wind up a crowd consisting of indie rockers, intellectual coffeehouse patrons and whoever else came to listen, it didn’t really appear that he was doing the job, at least from my perspective. A few in the packed audience feigned interest, and some actually showed more enthusiasm than Mr. White himself. Constantly announcing the time left in his set before Grandaddy would appear, White looked more anxious to head back to the bus than to play more songs. The depth of interesting, thrift and unusual instruments crowding the stage could not quite equal the sonic musings of his genre-hopping and entertaining new record, No Such Place. The crowd was ready for some Grandaddy loving, anyways.
As expected, most in the audience, as well as the band themselves, were not disappointed. With a set consisting mostly of songs from their recent album, The Sophtware Slump, the Modesto rockers surrounded themselves with sweltering synths, a giant video screen of assorted, rural images and of course, the jangly guitar hooks that attracted so many here in the first place. Singer/songwriter Jason Lytle scurried like a mad scientist around his designated area, moving from keyboards to guitar, with lips pursed always around the tattered microphone. Secondhand and new instruments were used and abused, with Lytle and Co. gliding through songs such as the melancholy, glitch-ridden epic “He’s Dumb, He’s Simple, He’s the Pilot” and their most recent single, “Crystal Lake.” Earlier work off Under the Western Freeway from 1997 was touched upon, as Grandaddy offered the crowd at Sapphire their sensitive, mellow side, opting to soothe rather than rile up.
Uptempo or not, Grandaddy delivered a set that can simply be described as “pretty.” The AV spectacular of lights and video only enhanced the psychedelic treatments constantly being delivered to the throngs of head-bobbing attendees. Grandaddy could be the best band currently around, but the country-boy modesty of Jason Lytle and co. would never lead you to that conclusion. You must see it to believe it. ◼