Gaz Coombes live @ Cyprus Avenue, Cork 5 December 2015

The run up to the festive season always brings with it some big gigs and arguably at the moment they don’t come too much bigger than Gaz Coombes. The former Supergrass front man is riding the crest of a wave following the release of his second solo album Matador which came out earlier this year. With a Mercury Music nomination and a whole host of critical acclaim to go along with it, 2015 has been a good year for Gaz Coombes.

The task of warming up on Coombe’s behalf went to The Shaker Hymn, a Cork band who are tonight reduced in numbers. They are stripped down to two guitarists to suit the tone of the evening. Despite an evident early lack of interest among the first arrivals to the show The Shaker Hymn manage to capture the attention of the audience and quickly rattle through a 7 song set which contained the beautiful ‘Caroline’ and set highlight ‘Hunter and The Headman’ both from their debut record Rascal’s Antique.

By the time the stage was ready for the main event the venue was close to full capacity, so it’s a struggle for Coombes to make his way through the packed crowd. Once he had, it was a brief hello before he got straight down to business with ‘Oscillate’ from the ‘Matador album. When he had time to catch his breath, Coombes sat at his piano and explained that some of the songs tonight would be different arrangements to the ones on the new album.

In the end a total of 8 songs from Matador make an appearance with favourites ‘Detroit’, ‘Buffalo’ ’20/20′ and ‘The Girl Who fell To Earth’ all delivered with flawless vocals while Coombes swaps effortlessly between acoustic and electric guitars and piano, aided by a backing track.

The highlight of the show for me came in a rousing version of the old Supergrass classic ‘Moving’ which was accompanied by a passionate audience sing along. The crowd howled for one more song as Coombes briefly left the stage and he duly obliged with an encore that consisted firstly of album title track ‘Matador’ and  coming to a close with yet another Supergrass song. This time it was ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ explaining how the song came to be, with a tale of how he was accosted by the police while in the back of a tour van and highly under the influence of illegal substances. This draws a rowdy cheer from the crowd almost as big as the song did itself.


Words by Anthony Kelly