Saturday, April 02, 2016

they want your heart and soul

The break between gigs wasn't supposed to be this long -- though in fact I saw a show earlier this week, but I'm not going to blog about it because it's outside of my abilities and a slight misreading of the bill skewed my expectations. In my defense, San Francisco has been awash in an unusually high number of great touring comedians lately -- but I don't blog about comedy either, so let's get to Gaz Coombes, ex-Supergrass, at Slim's instead.

Gaz Coombes, Slim's, April 1, 2016: Earlier this week, I racked my brain to recall if I ever saw Supergrass in concert, and slowly it came back to me -- specifically, an Amanda Decadenet sighting. Fortunately, I committed it to type earlier, so yay confirmation!

This actually points out a couple of current problems. First of all, my memory is going. Second, I saw a lot of shows before I started blogging, particularly during the Britpop years, and details will be lost in the jumble. Hopefully I can do some justice to them, 20-odd years on.

(Speaking of 20 years, has anyone noticed "Alright" popping up in two different commercials? I can't even remember the products now, but of course I perked up both times it came on. Yes, I still watch real-time TV with commercials, and I can still be surprised by music licensing.)

I feel like I have so many recollections to unpack every time a Britpop name rolls into town. It was so much fun, and there were so many good stories, but that was then. But to begin, I have to admit I wasn't a Supergrass, er, superfan. Also, I'm not really an early adopter, so that fledgling punk energy isn't always up my alley. Instead, I tend to prefer the mellower, more pensive phase as they adjust to success and reevaluate their motivation -- then in the case of British bands, interest drops off and they stop touring in the United States. Bwahahahahaha! In other words, I love the second Supergrass album.

Back to Gaz: The setup was solo and mostly acoustic, with a couple of songs on keyboard and a little help from a sampler. Early on, I thought Slim's terrible reputation for sound would overshadow Gaz's music, but kudos to the person at the console who adjusted and dialed up the perfect amount of reverb to complement Gaz's full, warm voice.

I didn't take my usual spot upfront, so I can't report how Gaz looks these days, except to say his trademark sideburns and wild eyes are intact. The crowd itself was respectable, especially for a Friday night when the Bay Area could also take in the Warriors (who lost at home!) and a preseason matchup between the Giants and the A's.

My most memorable Gaz Coombes takeaway from the last few years has been his interest in Midlake, who've shown up in this blog a number of times. Their performance of "Young Bride" is worth a click.

Otherwise, I haven't kept up with Gaz's career and hadn't listened to Matador going in, but a few songs stood out. Gaz offered a full intro to "Detroit" and his come-to-Jesus moment in the city. I appreciated the extra attention; it's a stand-out song. The one I loved was the last song before the encore, and after a rudimentary round of Googling, I learned it was the title track for good reason. I'm not sure I'm going to buy the whole record, but the singles are worth the download.

Of course, everyone wanted to hear Supergrass, and Gaz hit a few of them. Musicians have all kinds of reasons for which older tracks they revisit, but in a short show, the options are even more limited. Gaz went with "Moving," and at the very end, he rolled out "Caught By the Fuzz." Alas, no "Late in the Day" for me or "Alright" for the dude bellowing in the back, but they would've been more surprising than not.

Before he left the stage, Gaz thanked the city and said he'd be back soon. I honestly don't see the latter happening, but I wouldn't mind his return. He also shared a tidbit I don't recall from the miles of interviews I read back in the day. He said he spent a part of his childhood in Mountain View. I wonder if he's as amazed as us longtime locals by its transformation into Tech Town.

See also:
» pre-easily fooled
» why are your shoulders like that of a tired old woman

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