Wandering past the extensive and impressive merch stand I have to check my watch as it sounds like the seven-piece Coral have already started. Heading to the stage I see two solitary figures creating a sound not heard since a duo since I saw The Black Keys way back in the day. A flashing mobile disco light tells us this is Cut Glass Kings and despite gagging for a pint I remain transfixed for the remainder of their set.
Swirling psychedelic drum patterns and dirty riffs drag delta blues swirling into the 21st Century, stopping off in the 60s for a quick spliff. If Cut Glass Kings were a Who album they would be Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy.
She Drew the Gun are currently promoting their new album Revolution of Mind, and like CGK they are yet another sterling signing to The Coral’s Skeleton Key label. A wise man told me that they are much better live and he may have had a point, although their recorded stuff is knock your socks off brilliant too.
With Peaches hair and Adam Ant’s jacket, Louisa Roach has a stage presence. She draws your gaze from the second she starts with “Resister“, songs like this don’t pop up on your playlists every day. For someone so on the button, her voice often swerves into some old time country territory, much like Cat Power, that belies their angsty approach, again – not a bad thing. Before “Pit Pony“, Roach asks “Hope you don’t mind a little love song before we start dismantling capitalism.”
“Poem” is given a metronomic outing that stills all but very few in the room and reminds us of how fragile our friends on the streets are and how bloody horrible this country is right now. Did someone in the crowd say perfect? They should have done. A blistering set that should see hordes rushing to Probe to by their new album. Do it now.
The Coral have been around for enough time to rock out a greatest hits set and in fairness, the first half tonight is exactly that. “Sweet Release” from the new album Move Through the Dawn is an obvious opener serving as a springboard for a clutch of bangers like “Chasing the Tail of a Dream“, “Bill McCai“, “Pass it On“, “Jacqueline“, “Something Inside of Me” and the effervescent “In the Morning“.
A strange move, a bold move but a sound move… James Skelly in Breaking Bad trilby and shades announces a short set of songs from Distance Inbetween, their 2016 album that many, including myself, considered their finest work, their Pepper moment. For me, the new album pales somewhat in comparison but it may just be a slow burner. Distance Inbetween’s “Holy Revelation“, “Miss Fortune” and “Million Eyes” take up a good 20 minutes. Like I say, Strange, bold and sound.
A run through of newbies ends the show including the C, S & N– like “Eyes Like Pearls“, punctuated by a delicious cover of The Yardbirds “Heart Full of Soul“, (Oh yes indeed). Move Through the Dawn’s “Strombreaker” could be a new Coral classic.
Skelly has remained quiet throughout, merely announcing song titles but bassist Paul Duffy is buzzing off his hometown crowd and is gushing with gratitude by the end.
“Goodbye” serves as not only a great encore opener but the highlight of the night with a ludicrously extended mid song wig out. Police are still searching for the roof of the Mountford Hall. Reach for your telescopes lads, its still up there. Obviously “Dreaming of You” ends the night and the crowd are singing it into the street. I can still hear it in the air as I get in the car on Myrtle Street.
Local lads did good. The Coral innit.
Words by Del Pike, photography by Jon Artly.