Live Music Review: Graham Coxon @ Roundhouse

johnmcga
By johnmcga Last edited 103 months ago
Live Music Review: Graham Coxon @ Roundhouse

coxon_ready.jpg
Coxon on the Roundhouse stage

There's no doubt about it: Blur's recent reunion was a triumph. And given the number of the band's t-shirts on show at Graham Coxon's iTunes Festival gig tonight, it seems a good proportion of the competition-winning audience have turned up in the hope that Damon, Alex and Dave might join him on stage.

Playing this sort of gig can't be easy for Coxon. His laidback vocals and acoustic guitar work best in smaller venues, and his shy demeanour isn't likely to whip this inattentive crowd into a frenzy.Shame really, because although Coxon's music has a lot to say, at times tonight it feels like nobody's bothering to listen. He opens with Look Into the Light, an upbeat, folksy, summery tune from his latest album. Sadly, much of the beauty in its stripped back sound gets lost in the general hum of conversation.It's the same story for most of the gig, although things improve considerably when Coxon gets out of his chair and picks up the electric guitar. A particular highlight is Caspian Sea; its other-worldly introduction and portentous, doom-laden ending bring some much needed drama to the occasion, making the Roundhouse feel a darker, more ominous place.Sadly, this doesn't last - and the singer's shambolic, apologetic manner doesn't help things much either. At one point, he picks up the wrong guitar, shrugging off the mistake by claiming "they all look the same". While this might seem endearing in a venue half the size, in this large space it just pushes the background chatter up another notch.As the evening draws to a close with November and a Davy Graham cover, it's obvious Coxon's awkwardness is a real handicap here. With no really well known tunes to hang his set on and little in the way of interaction with the crowd, this gig was always going to be an uphill battle. And although he's played some hauntingly-beautiful songs, it feels like this isn't quite the right setting for them.The iTunes Festival continues till the end of July. See the line up and find out how to win tickets.

Last Updated 24 July 2009

RachelH

"this isn't quite the right setting for them"

Totally agree. The Roundhouse was too cavernous for the delicacy of the songs, and the acoustic sound wasn't loud enough to fill the space AND drown out all the freeloading chatterers. I was up in the balcony and you could hear the hum rising off the main crowd. It's such a shame; Coxon played a beautiful set, it deserved to be heard.

Lindsey

"this isn't quite the right setting for them"

Absolutely. He should be playing in my front room.