Graham Coxon / Longcut - Manchester Academy 3 - 20.5.04

Tonight's gig at the intimate Academy 3 is being recorded for Steve Lamacqs show on 6 Music. The venue is packed, the climate is hot and it's so indie it hurts, but it's all worth it.

Longcut are three young men from Manchester specially chosen to open by Lamacq himself after he heard their demos a few weeks earlier. Intense, a bit lo-fi and leftfield these guys evoke the spirit of Joy Division in their bass lines and there are also elements of Mogwai thrown into the mix. Backed by a drum machine the vocalist jumps behind the drum kit at every available moment and the guitarist manages to use his guitar violin style without appearing po-faced. Longcut show style, promise and versatility to make a difference.

Depression, drink problems and leaving Blur must have had an impact on Graham Coxon. The Essex boy has made a comeback though second to none to Stephen Patrick Morrissey. He's off the sauce, become a father and made the best solo album of his career in "Happiness In Magazines". Produced by Stephen "Parklife" Street Coxon is confidently assured on a collection of pop punk class.

Even though Coxon is surrounded by four musicians he still appears awkward, ill at ease and uncomfortable being the centre of attention. Graham casually dips into his back catalogue (he's previously released a handful of less commercial albums), but it's the new material we've come to hear like "No Good Time". To borrow a phrase from Coxon's fellow band member Damon Albarn 'I do indeed feel heavy metal' during the bombastic "That's What I Wanna Do" from his first solo album. Some cheeky rapscallion shouts out 'Play some Blur' although Graham gracefully ignores this request. His punk sensibilities rise to the fore during "Life Sucks" which hurts the ears with it's unrelenting ferocity. For the encore Coxon appeals to the hardcore contingent of his fan base by playing the b-side "All I Wanna Do Is Listen To You" which is good enough to be an A-Side in it's own right. Inspired by Beck and hairy rockers Grandaddy, he launches into one of the best singles of the year, the anthem for the disenchanted "Freakin Out" which is almost saved till last. The show ends with an obscure anti-establishment rant with a flurry of expletives, distorted sounds and deafening feedback.

Appearances can be very deceptive as this seemingly quiet, unassuming young man dressed like an art student can make so much noise.

Nicholas Paul Godkin
Photo's by Karen McBride -


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