Graham Coxon, The Roundhouse, review: Blur guitarist is good company but it’s hard to say any of his songs stand out

 

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“It was an effort going through all that stuff,” Graham Coxon says of his back catalogue, “to find anything worth playing”.

He’s eight albums into his solo career, but some things about the Blur guitarist never change. Wondering how to begin a two-part Summer Sessions retrospective of his songs - first acoustic, then electric - he sits with his legs crossed below his guitar and could barely look more awkward as he talks self-deprecatingly about his music.

It’s his everyman character that makes everyone love him, but are his songs a bit everyday?

He’s undoubtedly a top class musician, first plucking away like Colchester’s Paul Simon as he whistles along to Baby You’re Out Of Your Mind, later thrashing around in the punk of Who The F*** like he’s in the Buzzcocks, performing a backwards head-over-heels while still strumming. Yet equally it’s hard to say that any of his songs stand out; his most memorable tune, Freakin’ Out, does not get an airing tonight.

Coxon’s solo material remains the antidote to Blur. There are no anthems, no pretensions, just lots of personal, honest and often melancholy lyrics sung in that nasal Essex voice above great guitar playing. There’s lots worth him playing tonight, and it’s the kind of gig that makes you feel glad to have shared his company, even with hundreds of others. But does it make you rush home and reach for his solo albums? Not quite. I’m turning to Parklife again.

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