The Last Granadaland

Granadaland Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, July 13th, 2008

The Mirandolas, Le Tournoi, Laura Groves and The Tempus Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford

Granadaland exits stage left after three, four years when it has become the definitive night in Bradford guitar music. Promoter Mark Husak will be moving on to another venue but this - coupled with Adam Simons stepping back from his night - suggests that the times for music in Bradford are a-changing.

For years the most interesting bands in the area have played under some interesting more well known acts but the night has become bigger than the bands and the final spot is dead weight with the increasingly popular Wave Machines playing to a half dozen not long ago while the outer room buzzed with talk and people. It had become the way.

The Mirandolas are the type of band that have been doing well at Granadaland all these years. They are locals and they play indie pop on guitar pretty fast. They are fresh faced in that way that sends your brain trying to work out what their Dad's were listening to and how it might have influenced the tunes.

Perhaps they borrow the bass from eighties tunes the heard growing up and spliced it together with some Libertines putting a dash of freshness in. The Mirandolas are a tried and tested combination and they bounce along throwing out the odd interesting hook. They are worth a second look and are well received by the appreciative ranks. Le Tournoi's William Sanderson is impressed. He calls them tight, well practiced.

Le Tournoi went through a shift about two months ago with extra guitarist Kez joining the family Sanderson and now they are the talk of Bradford - or at least the train from Bradford to Leeds on this morning - with the buzz that was generated when they burst from the bedroom returning with vigour.

They take to the stage and within seconds front man Will has shirt off - there is a shirt off theme that surrounds the band - and Kez joins him. The tunes thrust with the same unity. Christmas Eve has emerged from the early CD-Rs as a fine work and is infectious tonight.

Infectious too is the enthusiasm that emanates from the stage and for a moment I think about the first time I saw the band and how they seemed like ill fitting pieces. Today they are smooth, at ease. James on drums wears shades and a beatnik hooped shirt. Emilie oozes sexy cool and offers harmonies that add a depth to the sound, Robert's bass is stable, Kez lively standing on a chair to play guitar, Will is eccentric and during It's Only A Power Station edges into David Byrne territory of entertaining intelligence.

They are there - Le Tournoi - and if the end of Granadaland pushes them into new territory they have the power to storm it. Storm it.

If Granadaland has given us Le Tournoi as a son then it's daughter is the brilliant Laura Groves who - as she records her debut album - has a confidence grown in the over talkative atmosphere of this night. Tonight she projects forcefully taking control of her audience as she starts off with Bridges which is picked sharply and rings around the Love Apple. She laments wistfully "This is the last Granadaland. We've had some good times. We've had some bad times..."

This is one of the good times. The buzz of voices is overcome as much as it ever can be in a pub venue and this is her apprenticeship. Groves has been adding to her set over the years since her first Granadaland and augmenting her standing material. Imaginary Flights benefits from her move into album style production and has a deeper, richer sound. For a moment the song softly drifts us back to St George's Hall and her finest triumph that night.

She finishes her set with I Wish I and both song and set are perfectly formed. She is the best thing to come out from this night and - apologies to The Tempus - she closes off for event for me.

Husak will be back in September. The bands that Granadaland pushed forward are a fitting legacy for his efforts.

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, July 13th, 2008

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