Gaz Coombes live at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 06/02/2015

Main Setlist:
Buffalo
Sub Divider
Seven Walls
The Girl Who Fell To Earth
Needle’s Eye
One of These Days
White Noise
Hot Fruit
20/20
Detroit
The English Ruse
To The Wire

Encore:
Matador
Break the Silence

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What an amazing time of it Gaz Coombes is having right now. Having seen his band unexpectedly dissolve back in 2010 following a couple of unfairly overlooked albums, he released his cinema-inspired debut album in 2012 – Gaz Coombes presents Here Come The Bombs. However, this again failed to significantly ignite interest from either critics or music buyers. But then Matador happened, and he’s ridden his the wave of good press straight to the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a fully-packed audience eager to see his live treatment of the the new songs for the first time (and more than likely the songs from his debut solo release).

The headline set is kicked off with the epic Buffalo, also the lead track from the latest album. With its mysterious piano-led riffs and digital ambience building to a blasting chorus, it’s the perfect way to announce himself to an audience perhaps unaware of exactly what to expect.

Only three songs survive from his debut album: White Noise, Break The Silence and the roaring second song Sub Divider. One of the best-received songs of the night was One Of These Days, a song released as a double-A-side release with Break The Silence in 2013. It’s a wonderful song that would have been right at home on his latest album but was a good early glimpse of where he was heading, and served as a huge contrast to some of the tracks from the debut album.

He boldly chooses to play no Supergrass hits tonight, a slight change from his last tour where he snook in Sitting Up Straight and Moving as encores. This departure from his past shows a desire to be taken seriously in his own right, with no need for the songs that brought him fame but essentially come from a very different stage in his life.

But the stage is brought to life most when he launches into the songs from the latest album, still fresh in their minds and also to the audience. You can never underestimate the joy of seeing a band on a tour for a specific album, as you’re going to see songs that may only get a run out for one tour. I for one was thrilled to see tracks like Seven Walls and The Girl Who Fell To Earth in this grand hall, probably for the first and last time. The same probably can’t be said for 20/20 and Detroit, both of which are songs right up there with the best of his career (which it’s easy to forget is now in its third decade). These tracks won’t go away easily and will inevitably stick around for a while on his live setlist.

The evening of top quality entertainment has just served as yet another reminder of how much talent Mr Coombes has. The reinvention process is now officially complete and I’m glad to see this new-found maturity seeping into his music. I think we all hotly await his next move, but we’ve got one of the albums of the year to comfort us for a good while yet.

Gaz Coombes is still on tour, with the following dates yet to come:
Monday 9th February – Glee Club, Birmingham, UK
Tuesday 10th February – Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, UK
Wednesday 11th February – Gorilla, Manchester, UK
Friday 13th February – Rock Café St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany
Saturday 14th February – FRANNZ Club, Berlin, Germany
Monday 16th February – Bitterzoet, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tuesday 17th February – Botanique – Rotonde, Brussels, Belgium
Wednesday 18th February – La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
Sunday 22nd February – BBC Radio 6 Music Festival, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
24th May – Sound City Festival, Liverpool, UK

His latest album can be bought from his official website, with a limited amount still available with a signed print. His previous album is also available from the same site.

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