Gaz Coombes – ULU, London

Wednesday 28th February

This gig was all Tom’s fault. He’s a big Gaz fan and I knew, at some point, I’d have to be indoctrinated to the Gaz tribe! The new single, Deep Pockets, has been played a lot on BBC6 Music and I like that, so perhaps I would like the rest of this stuff.  I did something I don’t usually do for artists I don’t know, I listened to some of Gaz’s stuff beforehand. Somehow I knew I wanted to know at least some of the music. With perfect serendipity Spotify gave me Girl Who Fell To Earth, to which I felt a deep connection. I liked that all the songs on Matador (his previous album) sounded different, this is an artist I can respect I thought to myself.

ULU is a place I only know as the gathering point for Student protests, and its been a while since I was on one of them, so I had almost no idea what to expect. Throw in ‘the beast from the East’ and Storm Emma (seriously) and I didn’t know if I would get there at all. Somehow we all managed to get to ULU to stand a very cold queue in the snow. Tom’s friends/fellow Gaz fans instantly made me feel welcome and in them I recognised myself and my Starsailor mates, different artists, same level of fan commitment!

Support came from Tom Williams who usually plays with a band, but was acoustic with one other tonight. On paper my kind of thing, singer songwriter, lovely guitars, but it really didn’t do it for me, for reasons I can’t fathom.

Then Gaz and his band, all crammed onto ULU’s small stage. He made a quiet entrance, he allows the songs to speak. Shy, an almost reluctant frontman I felt, yet with a magnetic stage presence. It was hard to take your eyes off him. Of course almost all the songs he played were new to me, but he did play several songs from the upcoming album. They were some of the strongest for me, despite the audience not knowing them. It felt as if he was really keen to share his new music with his fans, and Worlds Strongest Man sounded very good indeed on the basis of this.

I said this was all Tom’s fault, which it was, and seeing him so happy was wonderful. Watching someone you love enjoying themselves and knowing they understand your love of music, because you can see they share it, its the best feeling. I will never give up going to gigs on my own, being able to emote freely, but I will also take joy in the shared experience of friendship. That’s how Tom and I began, a beautiful friendship that blossomed. And I may have met them for the first time but MaryAnn and Veronica made me feel so welcome and part of the gang that watching them enjoying themselves gave me a warm glow (something had to, it was -9 outside!)

I really enjoyed this gig, Gaz is an artist I want to hear more from, and see live again. I’ve a feeling his music is going to grow on me. He certainly draws on interesting source material (the new album is in part a reaction to Grayson Perry and his incredible art) came across as a really lovely guy.

This was my 8th gig of 2018 (its been a busy February) and I may have just come across another artist to really love. I’m seeing him again in May, so lets see what happens next for both 40 gigs and my new found admiration for Gaz Coombes.



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