29 Feb 2020
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Gaz Coombes @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 17/09/2018

18 Sep 2018 // A review by Paul Goddard
Gaz Coombes along with his mates in Supergrass was part of the soundtrack to many of my heady nights out in the UK in the nineties. They were lumped into the whole Britpop scene by the media there but stood out due to in large part to the observational, conversational songwriting and lyrical style that has since been championed by Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys. It also helped that Gaz Coombes had a great and instantly recognisable voice as well as some awesome sideburns.

Gaz Coombes has recently become the soundtrack to my Sunday mornings. He no longer provides the heady blasts of Caught By The Fuzz but like many artists who continue to be relevant, his latest offerings show a more developed and considered approach to songwriting.

The mellower vibe kind of reminds me what Radiohead might sound like now had they not mutated into rampant keyboard fiddlers. Tonight, I doubt we are going to get the guitar melting sonics of Richard III but let’s see how the musical backdrop to my Sunday morning translates into this intimate NZ performance.

First up though it is Samuel Flynn Scott from The Phoenix Foundation kicking off proceedings. His set of lounge room friendly introspective well-crafted folk-tinged tales set a chilled-out vibe that makes this smallish venue feel even more intimate.

It's a hypnotic performance for those in the audience who do connect, and we are treated to music that is as beautiful in its simplicity as it is poignant in its lyrics.

The venue is packed as Gaz Coombes enters the stage. He gets straight down to business and as soon as those vocals start to soar the crowd is hooked.

He is surrounded by multiple guitars, loops a keyboard and a sampler which he has named Veronica. In between songs taken from his solo albums we are given stories about their creation. Apparently, he takes Veronica around his house recording noises then plays along just to see what comes out.

It’s an insight into his creativity. In their heyday, Supergrass avoided moving to London and carried on creating in their own space. Gaz has taken that process one step further as a solo artist and hearing these songs played live reminds me why everyone should go to gigs.

The songs transform with the passion in his voice, the energy of their deliverance. There are multiple guitar changes, but the performance is faultless and never boring. He seems completely at ease and each song takes you further into his world.

One over-enthusiastic Supergrass fan who gives multiple in between shout-outs for Supergrass songs is rebutted with “someone buy this man a Supergrass greatest hits album” and another fan sums up the night perfectly when she shouts “Gaz you are sooooo good” which gathers a huge round of applause.

Many gigs can be a bit forgettable. This isn’t one. There are moments where I am lost in the songs, the voice. During the encore we are treated to early Supergrass hits Moving and the aforementioned Caught By The Fuzz but for me, the 60 mins that went before was the highlight of the night.

This performance has given these songs new meaning for me. My Sunday mornings will never be the same again. They will be linked to memories of this night.

Thank you, Mr Coombes you are very, very good.


Review written by Paul Goddard
Photos courtesy of Ambient Light (Photographer: Megs Moss) 





 

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