Pop review: Graham Coxon, Digital, Brighton

Digital, Brighton

Blur mythology has Graham Coxon down as an indie stick-in-the-mud, the guitarist who jumped ship when Fatboy Slim was drafted in as producer. It's an image belied by the genre-hopping of his solo career: from unlistenable lo-fi experimentation to prosaic power-pop to something close to folk, as shown by his concept album The Spinning Top. It containes much complex and lovely guitar-picking, influenced by Bert Jansch and Davy Graham, and the melody of Look Into the Light recalls Nick Drake's Cello Song.

The Spinning Top is impressive and performed in its entirety at Digital, a location apparently decided upon only after extensive research revealed it to be the venue worst suited to performing a subtle folk concept album in its entirety. Coxon plays sitting down, invisible to the majority of the crowd.

What you can see is a bank of multicoloured LED lights above the stage that presumably come into their own during Digital's dance nights: they flash wildly on and off as bucolic songs drift whimsically along. If Coxon's voice was any thinner, its friends would be telling Heat magazine they were concerned for its welfare. It's all so majestically inappropriate, it's hard not to laugh.

In fairness, not all of The Spinning Top is lost. You occasionally get tantalising hints of fantastic guitar-playing and beautiful melodies. The frantic Sorrow's Army and Caspian Sea's early Pink Floydisms cut through the audience's frustrated chatter. Tellingly, neither of them get as big a cheer as Coxon does when he finally stands up.


Alexis Petridis

The GuardianTramp

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