Jason Lytle, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London
Maybe you think you haven't heard of Jason Lytle.
He's certainly not a man with any name recognition, but you may just remember his former band Grandaddy. One of the most critically lauded alternative groups of the early Noughties, they released a clutch of gorgeous records shivering with premillennial angst, soundtracking Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe along the way, before fading away.
Despite a long absence, it's familiar territory from the get-go: Lytle ambles on in his customary way, and absently picks up his guitar, before mumbling something and launching into "Now It's On" – one of his old band's bigger hits (for a certain value of "hit").
On acoustic alone, Lytle's material becomes sweetly contemplative, quite different to the jauntier originals. These songs haven't been written to be played naked like this; despite their lo-fi reputation, Grandaddy were always understatedly symphonic, and it's evident that some of these songs are losing their clout as they lose their instrumentation. The same goes for Lytle's solo material, which, while softer, still has more to it than a single acoustic guitar and intermittent drum machine can offer.
Still, his voice is his main weapon, and it seems to have improved with age: it's stronger than before, retaining the reedy vulnerability but losing the tremulousness. In lieu of a big bank of keyboards and four hairy partners, he lets it fill the room to great effect. As his confidence grows, he starts filling in some of the missing Grandaddy bloops himself, just about suppressing his chuckles.
It's a splendidly unserious show all round, in fact. He's magnificently charming, self-deprecating and clearly made up to be playing to this many people. He takes certain requests and eventually the set list is abandoned to the whim of the crowd. It's spellbinding, even through the fluffed lines and forgotten cues.
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