Later ... with Jools Holland: The National, John Mayer, London Grammar – as it happened

Last modified: 10: 43 PM GMT+0
Read what happened on the penultimate episode in the current series of Later… where the above artists were be joined by Lissie, Graham Parker and The Rumour and Ballaké Sissoko

That's it from me - I'm going to go back and correct my spelling mistakes, and will insert some YouTube clips from the show once the BBC uploads them. I'll be down in the comments for a bit if you'd like to berate me for my lack of knowledge about Graham Parker - but otherwise join us next week for the last Later... of the series.

And to Twitter, to see what the Twitter people made of it:

Getting ready to play on @BBCLater tonight. BBC2 at 10pm - who's tuning in?

— London Grammar (@londongrammar) October 29, 2013

Everyone seemed to agree that episode of #laterjools was pretty weak, but no-one seems to agree on why.

— The Mighty Mojo (@Bear_Necessity) October 29, 2013

There seem to be lots of boring bands around at the moment. Introspective and quiet #laterjools

— Amy Bevan (@AmyDanners) October 29, 2013

Great to see Ray Winstone back performing with The National #laterjools

— Chris Creature (@Chris_Creature) October 29, 2013

@JohnMayer sounded amazing then on #laterjools New stuff has got a Neil young streak in it.

— Scott Lloyd (@scottlloydmusic) October 29, 2013

Best bit tonight, the 2 mins dedicated to Lou Reed #laterjools

— Lily17 (@lynn1717) October 29, 2013

The National again

They're doing Don't Swallow the Cap - and, is it just me, or are they a lot better live than on record? I think it might be because the live format diminishes the distraction of singer Matt Berninger's vocals sounding so much like the guy out of Crash Test Dummies. Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm indeed.

When Ian Gittins saw them in London in June, he was blown away:

It's extraordinary to watch so many people communally, euphorically connecting with these immaculate anthems of introspection and despair.

Were the late-80s, mid-life-crisis US TV drama thirtysomething still running, the National could soundtrack every episode. Their burnished, aerodynamic ditties loom from the heart of relationships that are in freefall, or have crash-landed. Berninger appears to be constantly fighting insidious, pernicious self-doubt, and losing: "I am invisible and weightless," he murmurs on Graceless. "You can't imagine how I hate this."

He is a simultaneously driven and gauche performer, and lyrically gives every impression of being the most wearyingly needy paramour imaginable, oscillating between modes of doe-eyed devotion and terror of abandonment. His signature note is morose, poetic resignation.


Ballaké Sissoko

Asa Branca is the song, and if you like extremely good Malian kora playing that sounds a bit like "Oh I Come From Alabama With My Banjo On My Knee," this one is very much for you.


Oh yeah, I forgot about the now-traditional tweeting-a-picture-of-myself to make the liveblog that bit more personal

I'm liveblogging #laterjools. and have lit a candle to increase the romance of proceedings.

— Adam Boult (@adamboult) October 29, 2013


Graham Parker and the Rumour

Long Emotional Ride is the song. Sorry to say that, their appearance in This Is 40 aside, I don't know much about them - and so we turn to the Guardian's Greg Freeman, who wrote last year about when he first heard Graham Parker in the 70s: "I thought I'd found a new Dylan from the home counties"


Lou Reed

Now for a small LR tribute - a spine-tingling performance of Perfect Day from the archives, a brief clip from what looks like a remarkably laid back interview with Jools, and a round of applause for the man. For a rushed programme like this, that's pretty good going for a tribute section - wonder if it'll be longer in the Friday night show?



Nest up is Lissie with Sleepwalking. If that tickles your fancy, Lissie featured in Paul Lester's New Band of the Day column in 2010.


London Grammar

Not that there's anything wrong with country, it's just... oh forget it, London Grammar are here, the song is Strong, and blimey if they don't sound like The xx's B team. Although Sam Wolfson liked them a bit more than me when he interviewed them a couple of months ago:

A lot of the interest in the group is focused on Reid's voice, a chilling soprano with the yearning of Joni Mitchell, the minor tones of Regina Spektor and the enunciation of a public-school teacher. Still, her vocal talents should not distract from the group's knack for simple songwriting: each track on the album is built from only piano, guitar and sparing percussion, almost entirely free from flourish or ostentation.


John Mayer

John Mayer's here! White supremacist penis not in evidence as yet, and the song is Wildfire.

All a bit country, and is doing some faintly irritating wobbly-head business, while pulling some "I'm a serious musician and I'M CONCENTRATING" faces. Michael J Fox doing Johnny B Goode in 1955 it ain't.


The National

They're up first, performing Sea of Love. And they're brilliant, if you like their strain of faintly earnest, extremely accomplished indie rock. (Which I do.) There is a trombone.


I must confess, I knew basically nothing about John Mayer before today, but I'm learning rapidly.

A quick look through our own coverage of John Mayer turns up this:

John Mayer has apologised for using a racist epithet in a recent interview with Playboy magazine, after a number of prominent black musicians aired their disapproval. Mayer, 32, told an interviewer: "Someone asked me the other day, 'What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?' And by the way, it's sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass."

And further down in the story:

When asked by the interviewer, "Do black women throw themselves at you?", Mayer responds: "I don't think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I've got a Benetton heart and a fuckin' David Duke cock. I'm going to start dating separately from my dick."

Even more of this kind of thing from John Mayer here


While carefully researching tonight's acts *cough* on Wikipedia *cough* I learnt this about John Mayer:

After watching Michael J. Fox's guitar performance as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Mayer became fascinated with the instrument, and when he turned 13, his father rented one for him.

I am now 88% more disposed to liking him. Don't let me down John, I'm expecting some of this action:

Good evening!

It's Tuesday night, it's nearly 10pm, and that's the time we at Guardian music like to sit down with a nice warm laptop and watch Later… with Jools Holland, making the occasional observation about it while our loved ones complain they'd much rather be watching something on the other side. I'm entirely delighted you've decided to join us.

On tonight's Later…

• The National - melancholic indie rockers from Cincinnati.

• John Mayer - singer-songwriter and graduate of the Berklee College of Music, which is a kind of souped-up Brit School for Americans, I think.

• London Grammar - politely-spoken indie poppers who met while in halls at Nottingham Uni, in exactly the same way the Beatles, Guns n Roses and the Fucking Champs didn't.

• Lissie - American folkie who's cover of Fleetwood Mac's Go Your Own Way was used on a doubtless very inspiring advert for Twinings Tea.

• Graham Parker and the Rumour – who you might have seen playing themselves in the film This Is 40.

• Ballaké Sissoko celebrated kora player from Mali, as if you didn't already know that.

That's the line-up. What do you reckon? Best Later… EVER? A bit of a come-down from last week's Arctic Monkeys/Sir Paul McCartney/Katy B booking triumph?



Adam Boult

The GuardianTramp

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