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Graham Coxon: Fibbers, York: Monday January 16
King of Camden on the cusp on making it big gives exclusive showcase of loved-up new album
Tonight Graham Coxon plays this unfeasibly small venue to showcase tunes from his forthcoming album, ‘Love Travels At Illegal Speeds’. It’s a concept piece about love, dealing with everything from infidelity (‘Don’t Let Your Man Know’) to rejection (‘You Always Let Me Down’). New single ‘Standing On My Own Again’ makes the girls dance: it’s breathless, pounding and dedicated to being dumped, with Coxon flashing puppy eyes at the crowd and singing with a verbal shoulder-shrug, “Just don’t wanna see it going down the pan”. ‘I Can’t Look At Your Skin’ is as unapologetic as a Tourette’s sufferer at a sponsored silence, while the guitar part during ‘I Don’t Want To Go Out’ sounds weirdly reminiscent of The White Stripes’ ‘Blue Orchid’. The new songs point to a more confident Graham – heavier, poppier, faster.
The set is peppered with shuffling Coxon-isms – apologies, mumblings, rambling stories about Simon from Popworld and an array of blinking, winking, smiles and raised eyebrows. After the barrage of new stuff, ‘Freakin’ Out’ inspires a moshpit, ‘Bittersweet Bundle Of Misery’ is met with a roar of approval and live staple ‘I Wish’ is so loud it goes some way to explain why there’s a sign alterting the audience to the availability of ear plugs at the bar. And why people are actually wearing them.
Tonight Graham Coxon is a love cheat, an old romantic and an agoraphobic. And it’s clear these die-hard fans love him for being Graham Coxon, despite being a generation removed from the original Britpop brigade. By far the best song of the night is another new one, set closer ‘Gimme Some Love’. A lyrical bastard love child of Oasis’ ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ (“We’re a right pair you and I/It’s a messed-up situation”), Kaiser Chiefs’ ‘I Predict A Riot’ (“Can’t stand the crowds on a Saturday night”) and, indeed, Spencer Davis Group’s ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’, it’s a wide-eyed, raucous, stomping two-minute pop plea which has the whole of Fibbers jumping around like it’s already a smash hit. It’s proof that 2006 could be the year Graham Coxon stops shuffling around Camden and realises he’s got better fashion sense than he thinks.
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