Gaz Coombes - Sub 89, Reading - 14/06/2019 1

Gaz Coombes – Sub 89, Reading – 14/06/2019

I want to talk about the former front man of Supergrass, Gaz Coombes, who is doing a one man tour a year after releasing his third solo album, the superb Worlds Strongest Man in 2018.

I want to, but I can’t. I can’t because it’s a gig in Reading. And Reading has turned itself into the worst place to watch a gig. This is because everyone is so fucking entitled that they think they can talk throughout the gig. Talk to the point that I scream at them to shut up (and get a thumbs up from the great man himself), talk to the point that Gaz, in the encore, has to tell them to shut the fuck up himself.

This is supposed to be a joyous occasion. The majority of the crowd are there because they loved Supergrass, and love Gaz Coombes solo stuff. But too many appear to be there for reasons only known to themselves. Why would you spend your hard earned cash and stand at the back talking? Loudly. What makes you think that is a good idea? You are surely there because you love Supergrass or you love Gaz Coombes solo stuff. So the only plausible answer is that you only want to hear “Alright” or “Caught By The Fuzz“.

And you won’t be happy until you do. Failing that, you’re just a cunt. You have no interest in other peoples enjoyment. You couldn’t care less about anyone else, despite what you may spew into social media on a daily basis, claiming to love everyone and respect everyone. You clearly don’t care about the musician on stage.

You don’t give a shit about anyone but yourself, and this is the crux of the matter.

Gaz Coombes is a solo artist, he plays his own material. He has recorded three solo records and he is going to play them. If you don’t have an ounce of respect in your bodies for that then why should anyone else respect you.

A gig is a microcosm of human life. You go down the front and you jump around, you hit the deck and you should be picked up. Human nature will surely mean you help someone up who has fallen. So why not respect someone’s right to enjoy a gig that they have paid for. Why do you think talking to your friend, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, mother, father and spoiling the experience for everyone else is acceptable? What gives you the right to decide that you can ruin a person’s evening?

Maybe you think me telling you not to talk throughout a gig you have paid good money to attend is in some way an offence to you? Well good. Be offended. Be offended so much you crawl off into your hole and don’t darken the door of a venue where people want to enjoy the act they have paid money to watch and not listen to your inane, banal bullshit.

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Gaz is gracious and humble and doesn’t deserve the constant babbling from all around, then in the encore his frustrations get the better of him and he tells someone at the front to “shut the fuck up, I can hear you over my guitar”.

I’ve never experienced a headline act have to tell someone in the audience, their audience, to be quiet. Support acts, whilst frustrating, is to be expected. People haven’t come to see them, and people have no appreciation of their immediate surroundings. They can’t seem to comprehend that they’re in a small venue, their voices can be heard, especially after a couple of weak lagers or gin diluted beyond taste by expensive tonic in a goldfish bowl, and they just must talk about Love Island/football/something funny they saw on social media (delete as appropriate). They’ll probably be giddy after their cheeky Nandos from across the road.

For me at least, it absolutely ruined it. Spoilt to such an extent I can’t recall how the songs sounded. The engaged and interested parts of the audience manfully whooped and hollered after each song to drown out the fudge of a hundred voices.
The last song was “Caught By The Fuzz” which was glorious but the sole Supergrass song which was more than some yabbering pillocks deserved.

Lesson learned. For Gaz and me. He came and spoke to the fans, the adoring lot and said he has to have a thick skin but obviously it is different when it’s a one man quiet show and not a loud full band gig where they can be drowned out.

I feel sorry for myself but I feel worse for him. Must be soul destroying. These intimate gigs with just him and his guitar and organ are to be cherished. More so now as why would he do many more.


  1. Well done for writing this article, Sadly there are way too many Twats talking loudly at quieter gigs! Do you know another Gaz, as in Brookfield, a big fave of mine, and his track ‘I’ve Paid My Money’! Play it loud and sing it to the Twats!

  2. I’ve been to see two gigs recently, XX and Cigarettes After Sex, both of which my partner adores and both of which are mostly mellow, delicate live acts. I ground my teeth in frustration at the people standing in circles, facing away from the stage on their phones with the brightness up full, talking constantly. Gig tickets are not cheap and some people have paid more than double in travel to be there, unless it’s a whispered ‘this is awesome’, an order at the bar or cheering at the end of a song, please be quiet, it’s such an infuriating, disrespectful act to talk throughout gigs and seems to be getting worse for some reason

  3. I’ve booked one of these Gaz Coombes shows before. Was a similar experience. My venue even had the luxury of a downstairs bar where people could hear and watch the show on a screen and make their own noise away from the stage, but they didn’t. They did it right there.

    I’ve read an argument recently that suggests the act needs to command the audience and be interesting enough to force silence and attention from them. But that doesn’t work with the kind of people you’re describing.

    We once had Ian McLagan of the Small Faces tell an audience member ‘there’s a bar downstairs if you wanna talk during my show.’ Off shuffled the offender, who never returned back upstairs to watch any more of the show. Ian died later that year. Imagine being that person who bought a ticket yet couldn’t be bothered.

    Sad ain’t it.

  4. It is getting to be an epidemic and I’m not sure what can be done about it. Having said that, I was lucky enough to see Gaz at The Boileroom at Guildford the other day and the crowd were very respectful with not much chat at all.

    Other concerts I have seen at the same venue (This is the Kit being a stand out) have been totally ruined by continuous chatter from certain members of the crowd. I even had it at The National in Victoria Park last year and when I asked the crowd who were chatting away next to me to shut up, it nearly ended up in a fight.

    In the smaller venues, artists are going to have to start speaking up early in the performances to help the punters who do actually want to watch and listed to the artist/band enjoy their evening.

  5. Adam, I have heard the “they need to engage me” argument before too. Friend of mine confronted someone talking through a support act we wanted to see as much as the headliners, they were next to us down the front and they claimed they were bored of the band, not there to see them and were offended he had said something to him. So entitled. Makes me sick with rage.

  6. Surely all the artist has to do – after giving fair warning to the perpetrators – is to say he is not going to continue until management removes the offenders.They’d soon be outside.

  7. Went to see one of my Heroes Wayne Hussey in Sheffield last year I think and Miles Hunt more recently and pissed ignorant people did exactly the same Wayne got wound up along with me but the Miles show a couple had a full on domestic and my Mrs had to hold me back but not next time . Show some respect you fuckers

  8. Yeh put you off going to gig went to a numan gig and fuckers behind me were just making fun and laughing all through the gig could not wait to get home had a enough

  9. Make flyers, keep them in your pockets. Hand them to the offending people & make sure it’s all written in a big font.

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