Published Mar 01, 2003David Gray has never shied away from his reputation as this generation's Van Morrison, but on his latest release, A New Day At Midnight, the English singer nicks a few tricks from the "Man in Black," Johnny Cash. More sombre than its multi-platinum predecessor, White Ladder, Gray's latest release is a meditation on classic Cash-ian themes: love and death. But during his recent appearance in Seattle, the Brit put his most enthusiastic face forward, delivering a two-hour set of rowdy sing-alongs like "Babylon" and club-worthy cuts like "Please Forgive Me." Gray's supporting band was tight throughout, led by the wild antics of the drummer known simply as Clune. The singer, short of stature and stout of frame, was nothing short of compelling, impressively reaching every corner of the vast arena with his booming voice and charming between song banter. Clad, appropriately enough, in a black shirt and black pants, Gray moved nimbly from the piano to the guitar to the Wurlitzer, saving his best vocal performance for "Freedom," the centrepiece from his latest release. With its incantatory refrain, the tune seemed tailor-made for the times and for a nation on the brink of an unjust war.