By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 16th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
For today’s live video, we have Graham Coxon performing ‘Ooh, Yeh Yeh’ at O2 Academy Oxford for O2 Academy TV. There’s also a brief interview with the man at the tail end of the video.
Read about and view amazing photos from Martin’s review of Coxon’s Gateshead show in April here.
Midway through Graham Coxon’s near 2-hour set at the Sage, a couple of important points leap to mind. Firstly, Coxon is a proper, nailed-on Guitar Hero, of the kind that in the ’80s had massive poodle hair and seven-string guitars and competed to see how many notes per second they could tease from their Ibanez. It’s just that this particular exemplar happens to prefer noise, a dash of atonality, and obscurantist song forms to demonstrating his mastery of the mixolydian mode.
Secondly, how curious it is that Coxon should be responsible for some of the loveliest pop guitar playing, and indeed songwriting, of the ’90s whilst in Blur (think ‘End of a Century’, ‘To the End’, ‘This is a Low’), but his preferred modus operandi when left to his own devices is nothing as populist or crowd-pleasing. Actually, scrub that last bit: tonight’s gig is sold out, and there’s a girl at the front that knows every word of every song, so there’s clearly plenty to engage with in his solo work. Of course for every grand orchestral statement Blur recorded, there was an equal and opposite noisy nosebleed of a track: most famously ‘Song 2’, but more importantly ‘Popscene’, which not only wouldn’t sound out of place on a Coxon solo album (well the music wouldn’t… Albarn’s voice would be a bit more of a surprise), but marks an early statement of intent – Coxon might be capable of knocking off beautiful melodies, but he’d rather be making some scuzzy noise in a dark back-street club. Like the best songwriting duos, Albarn tamed Coxon’s wild, noisy side, gave him something to calm down to, and Coxon muddied and sullied Albarn’s cheeky-chappie tendencies into one glorious blend of the sour and the sweet.
Coxon’s split with Blur in 2002, following his treatment for alcoholism, is well-known and requires no further discussion here. But the essential fact is that Coxon has released more solo albums than Blur albums; his solo career deserves as much analysis as does his collaborative work. Never one to stand stylistically still, his material has run the gamut of genres, from lo-fi garage rock, pastoral acousticity, Led Zep-style heavy riffing, and back to Blurish power pop, to this tour’s inspiration, the electronic, jagged, dark-toned ‘A&E’.
There’s not much point in expecting banter from Coxon; he appears to prefer to let his guitar do the talking. Even the wag who kept shouting for Blur songs got away without a withering put-down. This is a pretty straightforward delivery of a fine selection of Coxon’s ‘electric’ oeuvre – not an acoustic guitar in sight. What there is is three pedal boards, one a particularly intimidating double-decker affair, which is pressed into service delaying, phasing, looping, and generally mangling the guitar into all manner of shapes never anticipated by Leo Fender. As if to press the meme home, Coxon, never one given to dramatic gestures, self-consciously ticks the guitar hero cliché boxes – guitar behind head, kneeling down, wrist above the fretboard, all crowd-pleasing moves… and was that a backward roll? Watch that lead doesn’t get tangled.
It’s a schizophrenic performance – of course there’s loads of great songwriting, but many of the songs themselves can’t really decide whether they’re worthy in their own right, or exist simply as a vehicle for another page from Coxon’s playbook. Certainly they are not in any hurry to showcase Coxon’s vocal, a delicate thing at the best of times, which stands not a chance of standing up to the volume of the guitars. Having said that, those songs which do stand out are particularly good – a drawn-out of ‘City Hall’ descends into all sort of chaos with an extended ferocious coda of squalling guitar. ‘Freakin’ Out’ is even more spiky than on record, and ‘What’ll It Take’ is as sardonic as you like. But the overall theme is a virtuoso guitarist doing his thing; not a subtle thing tonight, but a powerful and impressive one.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 18th April 2012 at 6:00 pm
An invisble man stars (is that the right word?) in Graham Coxon‘ new video for ‘Oh Yeh Yeh’, filmed in black and white. The song features on Coxon’s latest album, ‘A & E’. Watch it below. We’ve got a live gig review of his Gateshead Sage show this past Sunday coming soon on TGTF.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 30th March 2012 at 9:00 am
I have my suspicions that Graham Coxon is some superhuman or android; how else do you explain his many solo albums, practically leaving his time in Blur in the dusty pages of back history. His latest album ‘A & E’ is being released on Monday (2 April), and he’s got a UK tour lined up for April already. Tickets are on sale now. Listen to teaser track ‘The Truth’ below.
Friday 13th April 2012 – Oxford Academy
Sunday 15th April 2012 – Gateshead Sage
Monday 16th April 2012 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Tuesday 17th April 2012 – Glasgow Garage
Thursday 19th April 2012 – Manchester Sound Control
Friday 20th April 2012 – Sheffield Leadmill
Saturday 21st April 2012 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Monday 23rd April 2012 – Brighton Concorde
Tuesday 24th April 2012 – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 25th April 2012 – London Forum
Friday 27th April 2012 – Gloucester Guildhall
Saturday 28th April 2012 – Bristol Trinity
Sunday 29th April 2012 – Exeter Phoenix
Monday 30th April 2012 – Falmouth Princess Pavilions
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 9th November 2011 at 9:00 am
The holiday season reminds us home is where the heart is…and sometimes in our busy lives, we need to be reminded that there are people who are not as well off as we are, people who do not have a roof over their heads, people that are wondering where their next meal is going to come from. To mark their 40th anniversary, UK homelessness charity Crisis will be holding a special Stand Up and Rock music and comedy gig at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Tuesday the 20th of December.
All proceeds from this special Christmastime show will go directly to fund Crisis’s important work and dedication to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change. Both standing and seated tickets are available, with ticket prices ranging from £39.50 to £75.00. Tickets can be purchased from Gigs and Tours here.
Scheduled to perform include Paul Weller, who will be performing a full live set of favourites as well as songs from his latest Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Wake Up the Nation’; Tim Minchin, Graham Coxon, and Jo Brand. The performers will also be joined on stage by The Choir with No Name, an acclaimed choir made up of homeless people, including some that Crisis has helped. The event will be hosted by Ross Noble. More information on the programme can be found on Crisis’s official Web site.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 23rd March 2011 at 9:00 am
We’ve all seen the photos and video of the devastation caused by the massive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. Now there’s a way you can see some of your favourite acts and help the relief effort at the same time.
Richard Ashcroft, Beady Eye (pictured above), the Coral, Graham Coxon, Primal Scream and Paul Weller will be appearing at a charity gig benefitting the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. The gig will take place Sunday, the 3rd of April, at Brixton O2 Academy.
Tickets will be on sale at 9 AM this Friday (25 March) here. For more information on how you can donate directly to the British Red Cross, visit their official Web site.