jason lytle [2009]

Cafe du Nord
San Francisco, CA
8 June 2009

Jason Lytle was, not too long ago, the not-so-evil genius behind the band Grandaddy. Grandaddy was a fantastic oddity of heavily-orchestrated electronics and robot-inspired lyrics.

They were bizarre. They were funny. But most importantly, for me, Grandaddy wove together songs of humor and sadness like nobody’s business. Two of my favorites recounted tragic tales of fallen robots: created, loved and, finally, discarded.

I loved this.

And then, after a solid run of albums and tours, the band broke apart. After touring a bit on his own, Lytle released his debut solo album in May of 2009.

There was some concern in certain corners (mine) that, after never achieving the financial success he deserved with Grandaddy, Lytle would freak out and pull a Liz Pair on everybody. I’m not exactly sure what that would have looked like, but you can probably agree that it wouldn’t have been pretty. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Lytle’s solo debut is comfortingly not all that different from Grandaddy.

And so I found myself at Cafe du Nord late on a Monday night, grazing through a delightful spinach salad and preparing myself for a post-Grandaddy world. Fresh off of this solo debut, Lytle and his supporting band opened with a Grandaddy song. I’m not sure if that was a bold move or the opposite of one.

Regardless, it was a great opening and was well received (by a surprisingly large and enthusiastic audience). And then all that followed (for a while at least), was straight from the new album.

As mentioned, the new solo material is very similar to the old (sadly, without the robot references). But the trademark spaced-out acoustic sound is still there. The coarse falsetto harmonies are still there. The powerful bass is still there. It’s all there.

It really was a great experience: a packed room full of Grandaddy fans, giving Lytle all the love that he deserves, whether he was playing old songs or new.