Gaz Coombes, Piney Gir: Arts Club, Liverpool


Gaz Coombes

Gaz Coombes comes to town on the back of his new album, Getintoths’ Howard Doupe finds the former Supergrass singer is a man on a mission.

This tour is in support of an album that sees a reinvigorated artist. A swagger of someone comfortable existing in their own space, happy to invite whoever wants to along for the ride.
The new album, World’s Strongest Man,  breathes. Tracks don’t rely on hooks but ideas. The singles preceding already whet the appetite with pulsating rhythms, duelling guitars with strings, gospel grooves, funk-tinged bass lines and a little woodwind for good measure.
The art work on the album cover, an inviting summery swimming pool, seems so appropriate this evening, today’s Liverpool heat fits perfectly as blistering sun hits the streets. The anticipation is high for an act that promises so much.
As the early doors commands an early showtime, things kick off. On a cramped stage Gaz Coombes effortlessly swaggers through the opening track. After the second track business is real. Hot Fruit from 2012 Here Comes The Bombs sets the tone.

We’re appreciative but not stirred, yet.

When new album material makes an appearance the mood shifts, the air settles. As Coombes steers the front shop with the licks, guitar quips and ever-youthful charm it’s the rhythm section that are power-housing this ship. Lead single Deep Pockets gets an outing and the crowd show their appreciation.

The adding of three backing singers gives an air of indie-royalty to tonight’s proceedings; it’s off and on but on the whole an interesting blend.

Mid-set we have a solo section. All alone, Coombes tackles The Girl who Fell To Earth, it’s brittle and mellow, followed by a venture to the piano stool. The noise raises and the breakdown might be a little mis-timed. It feels like a mellow moment is uncalled for, when this Friday night, everyone just wants to be entertained.

Maybe this softer side does have a place in the repertoire after all, as by the end the crowd are honestly appreciative of what Coombes is trying to portray.

Back to full pelt, we send the groove side wards with Walk the Walk. It’s effortless and hits the nail bang on the crowd-pleasing head. Mixing guitar and keys duty mid-song only aims to show Coombes musical prowess, classy and skilled.
And now it’s time for a slow down. Coombes leaves a breathtaking moment with the piano-driven Slow Motion Life. As the song builds around the piano pattern, the band follow the lead. Mid-song Coombes switches to guitar delivering a crescendo of sound.
But wait, there’s more to come. We’ve got synchronised shaking of maracas by every band member with a spare arm on The English Ruse. Lapping it up, it feels like a bonding moment.
As the gig comes to an end it’s clear that Coombes still has plenty to say and the rocket fuel to boot. Tonight was an example of how one man’s mission can bend and contort to a world of possibilities creating an experience that was fruitful and entertaining.
Photos by Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett