When Supergrass announced their split in 2010, fans of the band were devastated. The band had been working for months on what was supposed to be their seventh album, which had even had the announced title of Release the Drones, so it came as quite a shock when the band announced they were finished due to the age-old issue of musical differences. That album never saw the light of day, but in 2012, frontman Gaz Coombes returned to the spotlight with his first solo album, Here Come the Bombs, on which he played all of the instruments himself. More electronic, the album was a bit of a departure from the Supergrass sound (though not so far off, given the band’s tendency to reinvent themselves from one record to the next), but Coombes’ voice and lyrical style remain instantly recognizable.
This year he released his second album on his own, Matador, and embarked on a US solo tour, his first time returning to the country since Supergrass toured for Diamond Hoo Ha in 2008. For his second show of the tour (after Philadelphia the night before), he came to Jammin’ Java in Vienna to play for a small but devoted audience of fans. “It’s been too long,” Coombes noted.
While it’s been out for several months now in the UK, Matador had its US release only a week earlier, so depending on their penchant for importing, it’s possible that many in the crowd had not had the opportunity to get familiar with it yet. Coombes opened the set with mid-album track “Oscillate.” Coombes switched between a keyboard and several guitars throughout the set, the stripped-down solo arrangements highlighting his soulful voice.
Highlights from the new album included “Detroit,” “The Girl Who Fell to Earth,” and “20/20.” Coombes also performed several songs from the first album, including the singles “Hot Fruit” and “White Noise,” as well as one Supergrass cover, “Moving” from the band’s 1999 self-titled album. He returned for an encore of two songs, the all-too-brief title track from Matador and a second Supergrass song, “Caught By the Fuzz” from the band’s 1995 debut I Should Coco (which received a 20 year anniversary reissue last year).
Kansas-born and London-based singer-songwriter Piney Gir opened the show.