Review – Jenn Grant at The Pearl, Vancouver, Oct 7, 2023
Jet-lagged but still lively, Canadian singer and musician Jenn Grant took the stage at Vancouver’s The Pearl at the pleasant hour of 7:30 pm. The dance floor of the Granville Street nightclub had been lined with rows of chairs for the intimate seated show.
Grant’s latest and eighth album, Champagne Problems, was released this past summer. The album is a unique compilation featuring several fellow Canadians including Kim Harris, Aquakultre, Basia Bulat, Bahamas, Dan Mangan, Hannah Georgas with Amy Millan, Kevin Drew, Ria Mae, Josh Qaumariaq, Slow Leaves, Joel Plaskett and Tim Baker. The result of these diverse collaborations is a unique blend of genres all woven together with Grant’s honest feeling and lively spirit.
Accompanied by guitarist Eli Moore, Grant played several songs from the album throughout the evening, including “Lion’s Mane” and “The Closing Down of the Summer”. The show’s opener, Winnipeg singer-songwriter Grant Davidson AKA Slow Leaves also joined Grant on stage for a couple of songs, including a sweet duet of “Under the Overpass”. During the vibey “One Hit Wonders”, Grant got saucy and climbed down to the dancefloor where she sang straight to the audience from the aisle.
Part stand-up comic, between songs Grant made the audience laugh with stories from their last few days touring on Vancouver Island—from meeting her dream dog on the ferry to DIY haircuts. The singer blamed perimenopause for her very candid jokes, but I think she’s just funny. If it weren’t for her talented performance, her honest humour may have been the highlight of the night.
With such original banter, Grant saved the cliches for ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’, another single from the new album, based on the shallow advice we often get, but never want. Throughout the song, written with Basia Bulat, Grant contrasts overused phrases like “live laugh love” with sincere feelings to a charming, catchy result.
“They say that you gotta dance
Like nobody’s watching
Well nobody’s watching
And I’m still alone”
Interspersed between new releases Grant performed a new rendition of 2007’s “Dreamer”, the theme song for Heartland, one of Canada’s longest-running drama series. During a cover of “I Will Always Love You”, she invited the audience to sing along on the chorus, though Grant claimed Moore was responsible for the request. The audience did join in and they did it surprisingly well.
Following the usual departure from the stage, Grant returned to the cheers of the crowd and thanked everyone for cheering long enough that she felt like she had to come back. Though she hadn’t planned an encore, Grant took requests from the crowd, and with the assistance of Moore on guitar played a few seconds of each (or as much as she could remember of some of the older requests).
An early, but thoroughly engaging evening, the show wrapped up around 9 pm as Grant had an early flight back to Nova Scotia the next morning. The singer will continue her tour in Ontario throughout October before returning to the Western provinces in November.