Sound Control’s upstairs floor is an intimate setting at the best of times. When arguably the best guitarist of the 90′s enters the stage, the small audience is surprisingly relaxed.
With eight studio albums under his belt, half of them whilst still recording and performing with Blur, there’s something decidedly loose about both his studio work and his live performance and this extends to a loyal audience with nonchalant foot tapping and head swinging the order of the day.
Kicking off with a fast paced string of tracks, A + E‘s opener, ‘Advice,’ is a frenetic riff driven snarl, filled with the insecurity that is central to much of Coxon’s lyrical content. Don’t Let Your Man Know follows suit with simple beauty and sweat fills the room far too early into a generous twenty track set.
Standing On My Own Again is a safe bet for a singalong, with Coxon’s tireless pleasure in his craft evident. His textbook display of fully perfected guitaristmanoeuvers engages everyone in the room, band included, from the double footed, head bowed leap in the air to a dash of headbanging.
The punk undertones in ‘I Can’t Look At Your Skin’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ before The Truth carries us down a grungier, low-fi direction.
Mid set sees a brief burst of tracks that I feel could have remained in the studio, slightly self-indulgent jams and rehearsals that sat neither in the punkier, teenage angst fuelled camp nor the baggy early nineties shadows.
Thankfully, the down time is only momentary as Coxon picks up those whose attention might have wandered with recent A + E offering ‘Running For Your life.’ It’s hard to stay angry for long with a forty-year old man who succeeds in making you believe he remains a loveless teenager, reaching out in vain to the fairer sex with his guitar playing. It’s Coxon’s boyish charm that makes this a very light hearted, energetic affair in one of the smallest gigs you’re likely to see him in anytime soon. The intricacy of his guitar skills this close are nothing short of mesmerising.
2004 hit single, Freakin’ Out ensures that the audience will be heading home with a cold sweat, many no doubt looking forward to seeing him back on the big stage this August with Blur.
Words by Ben Tallon