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Gaz Coombes - New Theatre, Oxford, 10/12/2023

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 8 / 3 / 2024

Gaz Coombes - New Theatre, Oxford, 10/12/2023

Supergrass had many crowd-pleasing hits in the 1990s and early noughties. Along with fellow (but very different) Oxford bands Radiohead and Ride, they helped put the city on the musical map. There was much sadness in 2010 when Supergrass paused their activity but their frontman Gaz Coombes decided to take the opportunity to embark on his own solo career. He was soon to succeed in building a body of work which many believe equals anything from his old group. And, meanwhile Supergrass have reformed for occasional performances and were a big hit at 2023's Glastonbury. Earlier in 2023, Gaz Coombes released ‘Turn The Car Around’, the fourth in a series of highly acclaimed albums which included the classic ‘World's Strongest Man’ as well as the Mercury and Ivor Novello-nominated ‘Matador’. Many new fans have been attracted internationally to Gaz Coombes's beautiful brand of shimmering, soulful and heartfelt rock and he and his band - Mike Monaghan, Garo Nahoulakian, Nick Fowler, Tomas Greenhalf and backing singers/percussionists The Roxies (Piney Gir, Amy Ashworth and Emma Brammer) - have just completed an Australian stadium tour supporting Robbie Williams. Their home-coming gig in Oxford followed on from this tour and the feeling at the sold-out and quite large New Theatre was almost that of a stadium show with all the grandeur and spectacle that an arena performance has. Yet it was incredibly intimate, too. Gaz's lyrics are poetic, exposing the gentle soul behind the rock star facade and he shared various intimate details of his family life in Oxford as the evening progressed, also talking frankly of the roller-coaster of touring the world with all the sense of dislocation and homesickness that can bring. There were many highlights of the show. Opener ‘Overnight Trains’was strong as were ‘Salamander’, ‘Detroit’, ‘Don't Say It's Over’ and ‘Walk the Walk’. The crowd loved ‘Long Live the Strange’ and there was a surprise, beautiful rendition of Supergrass classic ‘Moving’ which had the whole audience enraptured. Gaz Coombes and every member of his band must have been thrilled with the reaction to this sell-out homecoming show. Their performance was phenomenal and it could not have been more appreciated by a hugely enthusiastic crowd!

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Gaz Coombes - New Theatre, Oxford, 10/12/2023

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