Andrew Combs The Lexington, London *****

DECEMBER 16, 2019

Andrew Combs is a class act. For this, his second visit to London in 2019, he brought four musicians, including long-time collaborators Jerry Bernhardt on keys/guitar and Charlie Whitten on lead guitar. These two were joined by bass and drums to back Combs with a subtly full sound, perfectly complimenting his immaculate delivery.

What can you say about an Andrew Combs show? He’s constantly outstanding and whether solo or with a band he produces mesmerising and compelling performances. He played eight tracks from his new album Ideal Man, which has a fuller sound, in places verging on psychedelic, with synth and distorted guitar work.

Combs opened with Firestarter, the band gently nudging the song along behind him. Better Way “a song I wrote for my wife” followed and Born Without A Clue “which I wrote for my two-year old daughter”Like A Feather was the perfect vehicle to showcase his beautiful, fragile vocals.

“We’re going to crank it up a little” joked Combs before Dry Eyes from the new album. Of course it wasn’t cranked up by very much. Combs doesn’t do cranked up, Combs does wistful, flowing, melodic beauty. True Stone, another new track, had glimpses of Aaron Lee Tasjan and more pseudo psychedelia. The ever-present crowd pleaser Too Stoned To Cry brought a moment of respite from the emotion of his material.

Tracks of the night? Easy. The last four of Lauralee, the gorgeous Rose Colored Blues and the two encore tracks Rainy Day Song (solo) and the haunting Hazel to finish, with Whitten on backing vocals and whistling. Sheer beauty.

Words: Chaz Brooks