Gaz Coombes – Rough Trade West, Bristol

Wednesday 9th May, 2018

An instore live appearance to support the release of new album, World’s Strongest Man the night before my birthday. Even though I was supposed to be at a classical concert at St George’s tonight I had to go hear Gaz play his new stuff. Tom wouldn’t have forgive me if I hadn’t! He is on his way over the Atlantic as I type this, such a shame Gaz wasn’t playing this show tomorrow instead. I went on my own instead and got chatting with Dave. Us music obsessives always find a way to make a connection to each other it seems. I had wanted to take my boy with me, but he had decided not to come on the basis it would be “too loud Mum” and although I wish he’d been with me, I also know he will be when the time is right.

I’ve been listening to World’s Strongest Man as much as I can since it was released last Friday. I love it. I had heard about half the album before release and liked those tracks very much. I like the other half even more. Oxygen Mask and Wounded Egos are probably my favourites and he played one of them tonight. The first time I heard Oxygen Mask I was walking through the oncology department the day I heard a twitter friend had died of cancer, and its an emotionally heavy song, so it hit me quite hard. Tonight Gaz went from that into The Girl Who Fell To Earth and I almost had a little cry. I am fairly sure I will when I hear them both played with the full band in a couple of weeks.

What was wonderful about hearing him on his own tonight was that it highlighted how lovely his voice is, how strong his songwriting is, and how good a guitarist he is. A talented man who is also very sweet and gentle. Why is he not a bigger name? As much as Deep Pockets sounded bloody amazing, I did miss the backing vocals, who add so much to the song. I am really looking forward to seeing the full band on the tour at Trinity soon. I wish I could do more than one date on the tour.

The live room of Rough Trade is intimate. The stage so low I could kneel on it. It was such a privilege to be up close and personal, able to see all the emotions in Gaz’s face as he sang. These songs clearly mean a lot to him and sharing them with his fans more so. As fabulous as 20/20 and Detroit are I wish he’d played more of the new album, but I guess it is always a balance of introducing new material and playing old ones people will know. As a new fan (yes, Tom, I’m a full convert) I’m coming on the Gaz Coombes journey at a good time it seems. Creative, interesting, emotional. His music makes you think as well as feel.

As an introduction to the new album live tonight was ace. For a new fan it was a real treat to hear 9 songs live, just Gaz, highlighting his talent as a songwriter and performer. As a way to start off my birthday celebrations it was pretty awesome. A happy birthday signed set list is a pretty great way to start being 41. Or end being 40, seeing as #40gigs was the odyssey that started all this. What a year being 40 was! I wonder what 41 will bring.


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