Easy Street Records
May 19, 2006
Free shows in Seattle are known to attract nearly as many gawkers and cheapskates as actual fans, but it was clear that the audience gathered at Easy Street Records on Friday night were clearly there to pay their respects to the Modesto, CA, band Grandaddy on one of its final performances. In case you didnâ’t know, Grandaddy has called it quits with the release of their most recent album, Just Like the Fambly Cat. As a final farewell, frontman Jason Lytle — equipped with an acoustic guitar and his ever present baseball cap — has been performing at a series of record stores like this one across the country rather than attempting a national tour. In fact, these free performances are fitting since the inability to make any money while touring is one of the reasons Lytle cites for the demise of the band.
Despite the understanding by both Jason Lytle and the audience that this would mark the end of Grandaddy in Seattle, the performance was endearing and positive. Lytle cracked early on about how he had (pretty good wine buzz going on) and related a story about rolling down a hill at a park in Magnolia on top of his guitar case laid upon his skateboard. Later, Lytle claimed that he missed his band and that they had “a good time together” and “a good run”. And he promised that he didn’t “have any big plans of striking out and being a folky songwriter guy”. Besides these few comments, Lytle kept his banter short and focused on a set of songs that covered his last four albums, including the collection Concrete Dunes, as well as a rarity, “Aisle Seat 37-D” from a “Devil in the Woods” 7 inch single, and a cover, “I Need You”, originally written and performed by America.
It was difficult for the audience not to listen to the lyrics of every song for clues as to why Grandaddy’s most recent album would be their last, especially through songs like â€œSummer â€¦ Itâ€™s Gone,â€ in which he sings, “I don’t know where everyone went or where I’ll go”, or on “My Small Love”, when he sings, “I don’t get you/I don’t get anyone/I’ve lost my way/I don’t get any of this”. But Jason Lytle kept the mood light on songs like “The Crystal Lake”, on which he provided chuckle-inducing a cappella trills normally provided by digital instrumentation. He even joked about how “dramatic” the songs were and assured the audience by saying, “I’m not taking any of this for granted”.
At no point in the show did it seem like Jason Lytle would be gone for good, only that Grandaddy wouldn’t continue in its current form. To emphasize that point, Lytle ended his set with a final rarity, “Levitz (Birdless)”, in which he sings, “Wrong to say that I am giving up/Right to say that I ain’t showing up”.
For the fans, Jason Lytle did show up. After the performance, he spent nearly two hours signing cds, posters, and even a skateboard while chatting with fans. He seemed in no hurry to leave. And the fans were certainly in no hurry to see him go.
Listen to Jason’s in-studio performance from Friday afternoon at our Streaming Archive.