Andrew Combs at the Borderline
Tucked in a corner of Tottenham Court Road, country music patrons peacocked their loyalty with tassels and cowboy boots to escape London’s temperamental weather into an illusion of South West America. The Nashville singer-songwriter Andrew Combs was back in London to tour his new album Canyons of the Mind, following his success from his debut record All These Dreams in 2015. The Borderline showcased his latest style refined during the past two years.
While Combs wore a black suit and a devil-may-care red shirt, his backing band united in an all-black ensemble as though to not distract the audience from their emanating melodic flair once they smoothly transitioned from audience banter into Rose Coloured Blues. The singer’s weightless voice soared, awakening listeners to his undeniable talent to melt away city stress, proving that beyond his studio recordings his voice has more soul for his listeners to experience. Along with the angelic backing vocals, Combs continued to hypnotise the venue and thaw hearts with songs All These Dreams and Better Way, dedicated to and/or inspired by his wife. Pushing the boundaries of country music, Combs flawlessly harmonised his acoustic guitar with the dexterous twang, and often droney soundscape, of his applause-worthy backing electric guitarist, mastering an iconoclastic ambience leaving beers to warm in audience members’ hands.
The Texan-born artist’s timeless quality has been compared to Glen Campbell; although a compliment, he proved himself more to the likes of Terry Reid and Bob Dylan once his band left the stage and he began his solo set. Beginning with the haunting rendition of Month of Bad Habits, intimacy and finger-plucking ingenuity oozed from him under the spotlight. Right after singing Strange Bird, his hybrid endowment to incorporate the blues and country encouraged one fan to bellow “Outstanding!”, a remark that Combs insisted, while he giggled into the mic, that he will never forget.
The band skipped back on stage to support the final numbers. After the inevitable hit single Emily had been sung by the entire venue, a fresh surge of vigour broke loose on stage with the heavy opening to the songwriter’s recent political single Bourgeois King, evenly followed by the encore, Hate. Rattling mayhem on drums, Jimmy Page-equse guitars and hard-hitting bass, Comb’s genre contradictions reigned as he, and his band, graffitied his studio singles with floor-rattling chaos.
Combs exceeded his countrypolitan reputation, turning his fierce talent to face a diverse realm of musical savvy only a few have seen or entered.
Photos: Mike Garnell
For further information about Andrew Combs and future events visit here.
Listen to Bourgeois King here: