Graham Coxon

posted 14 May 2009, 06:47 by The Editor   [ updated 6 Jun 2009, 02:49 by Harry Cooke ]
Fibbers, York - 8th May 2009

As we arrived, Pete & the Pirates were already on stage. This was a Friday and therefore Fibbers rotate their bands in prompt fashion to allow the club night to start on time after the gig. We should have arrived earlier to catch the whole of their set as the second half of Pete & the Pirates gave exactly what Graham Coxon failed to: Energy. 

Graham Coxon walked onto the stage and promptly started to complain that people in the crowd were talking, and that his lyrics should be all that was needed in the room. Then he sat down out of view for most of the audience, and sadly "Out of sight, out of mind" summed up the reaction of many to the quiet, invisible presence on stage. From the little that I know of Coxon's personality I never expected him to throw himself around the stage or to have masses of audience interaction but, frankly, I was left more than a little cold by Coxon's reaction towards the crowd and even the set in general. 
Coxon is on tour promoting his new album, The Spinning Top. The album itself is a new sound  for Coxon, a folk inspired concept album following a man from birth to death. At one point he declares from the stage that he is not completely happy with some things on the album and that he wishes he had done some bits differently which seems a strange thing to say to a room full of people who you, surely, want to go out and buy your album. 

If you were stood near the front of the room the lyrics were audible, the sound clear, the view acceptable, and the crowd captivated. Anywhere further back and the discontented murmurings of the pop-punk fans waiting for Freaking Out, or at least any hint of the Gibson SG making an appearance drowned out any chance of Coxon's new material reaching out and drawing you in to really listen. His set just didn't flow, with it taking Coxon 20 minutes to finally stand up off his chair and hand back his acoustic guitar to the hands of a waiting guitar tech. When he took the Fender you could feel a change in the room as if the crowd where waiting for the real set to begin. Sadly this was not the way as he promptly retook his seat and acoustic after just one song leaving those at the back straining to catch a glimpse of his dark rimmed specs. This was the cue for the majority of the crowd to switch their attention to other things.

This was a shame, because in a different venue, possibly in a blues-club type bar where the crowd are seated at tables, the audience could have been captured, rather than lost. But this is Graham Coxon, and in a little under a month he will be playing two sold-out 50,000 capacity shows in Hyde Park when he reunites with old band mates Blur. This, combined with the total lack of any 'crowd pleasers' made me feel that this show was a self-indulgence rather than a promotional tour.

5/10

The Editor

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