Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: graham coxon, pete and the pirates, The lexington, the spinning top
Last night saw my first visit to the fairly new venue of The Lexington on Pentonville Road to see Graham Coxon play one of only a handful of shows before he’s off touring with some band he used to be in called Blur.
Anyhoo, I met up for a drink with a friend beforehand so didn’t catch the first support band, Micachu and the Shapes, as we didn’t realise that they’d finished by the time we got upstairs to the venue itself.
The actual venue was a fair bit bigger than I had imagined with a small upper floor with a bar and then on a lower level was the main floor and the stage. As we got there, there were very few people still in the venue so easily made it to the front in time for the second support act, Pete and the Pirates.
Now these were one of those bands that I seem to have heard of many times in many different places but had never actually heard any of their music so went into it now knowing what to expect. And what I did hear was rather good actually as they played an almost annoyingly catchy array of indie pop that had just enough of an edge to it every now and again to stop you from feeling nauseous from the sugariness of their songs. The two guitarists/two singers format worked well for them and the tight guitars from them was backed up nicely by some lovely little riffs by their other guitarist and some solid drumming and basslines from the remainder of the band. Well worth a listen.
After they had finished their set and the stage was prepped, Graham Coxon and his band (a drummer and bassist) made there understated entrance to a now packed out Lexington audience.
Now, I knew what to expect from this gig as I’d already heard that it would be him, and the band, playing his new album ‘The Spinning Top’ so I managed to ‘acquire’ this album beforehand and give it a few listens before seeing him. As such, this review is of the album as much as it is of the gig itself. Now the thing with this album is that it is a very different sound to his previous albums as it draws it sound from a very folky, finger picking style (the latter, a style I really like and as a guitarist myself, one I like to play) rather than the lo-fi and pop punk sounds of his other works. For me, it’s a great album (after a few listens) and I really appreciate the technicality of playing such songs.
Live, however, it was simply mesmerising for me to see it being played in front of me (and here it was quite literally in front of me!). After his brief, understated welcome he started from the top of the album with the rather fabulous ‘Look Into The Light’ and from there, proceeded to play the rest of the album in it’s entirety, including the 8 minute long ‘In The Morning’, the brilliantly distorted ‘Dead Bees’ and the fantastic, frantic single ‘Sorrow’s Army’.
The acoustic tracks he played sat on a chair at the front of the stage (as finger picking can be difficult at the best of times, let alone when stood up) which added to the intimate feeling of the gig, while the heavier tracks like ‘Dead Bees’ saw him get to his feet with his electric guitar, bent over and playing with his effects pedals to brilliant.. well, effect.
After playing the album the whole way through, he finished with a cover of a cover of an old blues/folk track called ‘Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie’, originally written by Elizabeth Cotten which was a nice finish. All in all, I found it an entralling gig thanks to his astounding guitar skill and the album sounded so much better live than on recording. He may not have played any of his ‘classics’ but to be honest, they’d have felt out of place. It was just a shame that not everyone seemed to have expected the gig to have been like it was but then again, I don’t care; I loved it!
Graham Coxon – Sorrow’s Army (live)
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