Graham Coxon, HMV Forum, London
Boyish Blur guitarist Graham Coxon is clearly multi-talented.
Aside from his bread and butter work as the lead guitarist for Blur - for a decade between 1991 and 2002, then again from 2007, (the gap between the dates is when he had a rift with Damon Albarn, for a year, then the band took a break from 2003 to 2007) he has also created artwork, written lyrics and sung occasional lead vocals for the band. While the other Blur members were off making cheese or retraining as a lawyer, the 43-year-old has managed an impressive output of eight solo albums. Prolific, yes. But polished? Not exactly.
Coxon seems to be a perfectionist from the way he anxiously trots around stage, twiddling knobs and pressing levers, fine-tuning the instruments throughout the night, but there's still a rough, textured quality to his sound. It ranges from up-beat soft-rock to experimental, deconstructed noise and back to the indie rock sound that characterised Blur's music. He seldom addresses the crowd, but there's a lot of physical expression. When he creates frenetic crescendos on his Fender, (which seem to be the final flourish to almost all his pieces) he moves his head in sync with his strumming so fast you start to worry a string might break or his head might fall off.
The style is quite broad and drifts towards sounding like the Osric Tentacles with its acid rock instrumentals, making sounds like crunching metal and helicopter blades. At other moments it's more like Kula Shaker, with mystical elements, twanging sitar-esque guitar and esoteric lyrics.
There are some self-indulgent moments, like over-extended outros that build to a pure cacophony that's simultaneously disconcerting and psychedelic, but sometimes it's just noise. And his eagerness to demonstrate his incredible affinity with a guitar sometimes alienates the crowd. At one point he lifts the guitar onto his head and rubs it across his hair. Unsurprsingly, it doesn't sound great. Judging by their reaction, the fans love the straightforward, mainstream tracks the best, like "You & I" from his 2006 album Love travels at Illegal Speeds and "Ooh Yeh Yeh" from his new album A+E where, with his Blur-style slur, Coxon creates an upbeat Britpop vibe.
Don't Let Your Man Know
Standing on My Own Again
I Can't Look at Your Skin
I Don’t Wanna Go Out
Meet and Drink and Pollinate
Running for Your Life
You Never Will Be
You and I
Ooh, Yeh Yeh
That's All I Wanna Do
Seven Naked Valleys
What'll It Take
No Good Time
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
- 4 Kajieme Powell: Missouri police release video footage of second man killed by officers
- 5 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
The Top Ten: Horrible buildings
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 line-up: Meet the contestants from Lauren Goodger to Kellie Maloney and Audley Harrison
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women