The Waterfront, Norwich 7/6/04

Beware the bored looking keyboard players. They are seemingly infiltrating bands all over the UK. You will know them by their sullen faces and the fact that they barely open their mouths to sing backing vocals. This was especially true of young four-piece Porcupine, from Sheringham. I am more than sympathetic that this isn't the most happening or inspiring of places to originate from (although, personally, many a happy hour has been spent there, chomping on a stick of rock whilst trying to win a stuffed "Noddy" from one of those machines with the claw) but they are supporting Graham Coxon, for crying out loud. Show some bloody enthusiasm. I do not think you are cool as hell because you are wearing a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" vest top. This does not warrant you standing there thinking that you look like rock stars but instead looking like your granny just died. In short, if Porcupine had put some effort into tonight's performance, then I may have put some effort into listening to it. Not all bad by any means, because they have some surprisingly cheerful Britpop melodies up their sleeves and are good at what they do- it's just a shame they all have faces like slapped arses. I think I've made myself clear. Yawn.

Hang on; what's this? Cathy Davey is an up-and-coming princess of the indie scene, no? Then why does she also look as miserable as sin? Yes; make mine a pint of cider (well, we are in farming country- oo-ar- not to mention that it may just keep me awake). But, seriously. This itty bitty blonde from Dublin surely has a lot to smile about. Ignoring the fact that she may look a little like the vulnerable Sindy doll who had her hair hacked off by a reckless four-year-old, her music is great. She sings like a sweet angel, reeling off beautiful melodies laidback enough to make your heart stand still, pulling you back by the short and curlies when breaking into more lively renditions, such as new single "Clean and Neat". What's more, she's supporting Graham Coxon (sorry but I am trying to stress a point here; does no-one else think this is a reason for great joy?). Yet my better half hadn't even realised that she had greeted the crowd (she did squeak "hello"; I heard it) and this bothered him greatly. I tried to argue that she was here to play guitar and sing, not do a stand-up comic show, but, in the end, I had to agree with him. After all, the rest of the audience also seemed to notice the lack of rapport, as their conversations grew louder and louder as her set continued. Was it a lack of confidence perhaps? She hasn't been in the public eye very long. In which case, I am sure that this will improve with time. Regardless, her keyboard player still looked bored.

So hoorah for Graham Coxon. A thousand times hoorah. I was guilty of holding back the teenage midgets that kept trying to push an old girl like me out of the way to get closer to this fine specimen of a man. Although I did resist the desire to squeal like a nutter when he appeared centre stage, instead quietly and demurely noting to myself about how gorgeous his shoulders still are after all these years. And wearing his trademark NHS specs, he couldn't have looked more appealing if he'd tried. I think the already boiling summer temperature must have shot up another 10 degrees. But we all know he is more than just a pretty face. The reason I was so dumbstruck at the nonchalant nature of the support acts, was because, as you may have figured out, I think this is possibly the best British guitarist ever, or, at least, to surface in the last 15 years. He is, quite frankly, amazing. Raw and exciting to watch, energy crackles from the stage when he's standing on it, as this cutest of all little-boy-losts scissorkicks the adoring crowd up the arse and commands them to go loopy to the best bits of new masterpiece "Happiness In Magazines", and, despite seemingly bemused by the frantic applause that followed each song, knowing full well that he is as good as everyone is saying he is (the beautiful "All over me" and, of course, "Freakin' out" were two such highlights). Although I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of old material he chucked in; angry punk rock at its best one minute, heartbreakingly sombre the next, many of these songs provoked him to bend yet further over his guitar, rolling around the floor to obtain the heavy and seering style that he is so renowned for, and I got to see his blue Y-fronts peeking out from his trews. Ahem. I wasn't the only one to enjoy this. Two blokes shouted marriage proposals to him. So there.

Anna Claxton