Graham Coxon - 53 Degrees Preston - 20.10.06

There arent many performers who start a gig by telling their fans what films they watch on their tour bus (in Grahams case a movie about Charles Manson), but the ex Blure guitarists is a humble kind of guy, just happy to play music without any showbiz artifice. Joined by three trusty musicians and an adoring public, Graham takes a while to warm up but when he does he takes of his glasses transforming himself from a mild mannered Clark Kent to the superman he undoubtedly is.

"Spectacular" see Graham Coxon spinning around with his unthreatening Essex sounding vocals, not that disimilar to his speaking voice. "Skin", the former single is very Buzzcocks influenced with its not to punk and infectious melody has the crowd bobbing along. Graham would no doubt agree that he isnt the most charismatic frontman around, but compare him to two
years ago at Manchester Academy 3 and the shyness has gone, he's enjoying himself more and bantering naturally with his musicians although introducing them to the audience (which he either forgets or doesnt bother) would have shown solidaritory.

"Sweet Bundle Of Misery" has the lad back vibe of the Blur song "Coffee and TV" which Coxon sang lead vocals on. It's not all a pot pouri of pop and punk throughout the night. Graham shows off his love of the blues with moments that deserve comparisons to Chris Rea (Editor: no no no). The slower songs are also rather quite moving.

"What You Gonna Do Now", the next single on seven inch vinyl only is punchy with the pogoing masses being sent into a frenzy. This continues through the gig, at its peak when "Freakin Out", is played, still his best loved song. Up until this point im enjoying myself but towards the end of the set Graham and friends start to become self indulgent with a few tracks tuneless,
monotonous with unneccessary forays into metal with shouty vocals and continuous feedback. Still who else but Graham Coxon could perform twenty plus songs in ninety minutes, having time for his critique on horror movies

Nicholas Paul Godkin
Photos: Karen McBride

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