Gig review: Gaz Coombes, Glasgow

“ISN’T this a bit bloody lovely?” declared Gaz Coombes, admiring the Alasdair Gray mural-decorated Oran Mor auditorium. Certainly it was more salubrious than the kind of venue he used to play.

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Oran Mor


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While many of Coombes’ Britpop peers are getting the old band back together to relive the glory days, the famously-hirsute former Supergrass frontman is enjoying a minor musical reinvention. This was the second date in a mini-tour of atmospheric church venues, and it saw the Oxford native perform aptly stately versions of songs from his 2012 debut solo album Here Come The Bombs, alongside a handful of newer and older material, all “catered to suit the acoustics and natural reverb of the buildings”.

Backed by a drummer and his brother Charly on keys and sampler, Coombes switched between acoustic guitar and piano, introducing his new, more pared-down and sensitive style most impressively with a pair of shimmering electronica ballads in The Girl Who Fell To Earth and the strikingly pretty One Of These Days. If those songs seemed far-removed from the kind of cheeky indie material with which he was once synonymous, Buffalo took things further away still, with its trip hop beat-driven verses and pocket Pink Floyd cosmic freak-out choruses.

A solo acoustic version of Supergrass’ much-loved early single Caught By The Fuzz was a collector’s item at encore, while Low C – from their 2005 acoustic album Road To Rouen – was an obvious linking point between the then and the now. Break The Silence proved a mighty resolve, with the audience rising to their feet both in celebration and ovation as its final dramatic piano chords came crashing down.