Given the unfortunately timed monsoon most of the audience endured on the way to the gig, the prospect of seeing a band whose name is intrinsically related to water may have dampened the overall mood. Whilst openers Mother Superior tried their best to alleviate the grey clouds, their brand of dual female vocal funk-rock only received polite applause and offered little in the way of standout moments. Although, a more than respectable cover of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot me Down) gave ample opportunity for the audience to exercise their Karaoke demons.
White Cliff were next to take to the stage and, whether it was the drying of clothing or the fact that the Liverpool based outfit brought their own gathering of fans, everyone seemed more at ease. Admittedly, their set seemedsomewhat more cohesive than their stage predecessors, consistently remaining within the realms of pop punk. But it was probably their strict obeying of the canonical norms of their genre that let them down. What began as promising, exciting even, for a crowd largely geared towards seeing an indie headliner, became unavoidably samey and lacked any apparent experimentation. Something about the backdrop of power chords, falsetto lead guitar and crashing drums supporting an impeccably clean vocal, whilst all undoubtedly impressive, didn’t quite gel as the set progressed. Think, You Me At Six meets West End theatre.
Coasts arrival therefore was celebrated enthusiastically, their opener heralding the more indie-twinged sounds that you feel this particular crowd had been waiting for. Their stage presence was noticeably more refined than their support acts as well, even in the intimate settings of The Shipping Forecast basement with little area for movement. They were uick to move onto more of the same, tracks Your Soul and Let Go heralding high-pitched guitar riffs and altogether more carefully manufactured substance from the rhythm section.
Despite the warm welcome they received, and the glaring fact that the few songs they played up until this point had been assuredly catchier and of a higher quality than anything else heard on the night, the audience provided little in the way of engagement with the music. With a little motivation from frontman Chris Caines and the downing of several Red Stripes however, crowd favourite Stay seemingly warmed up the limbs and vocal chords of everyone present.
New track Rush Of Blood, the video for which had only been released that morning, and Golden City affirmed the set as an overriding success. In the latter half Coasts’ self-proclaimed trop-pop showcased a knack for lurid and infectiously entertaining tracks. With most bands I tend to try and find comparisons but with Coasts, whilst there might be a hint of Bombay Bicycle Club or even Foals here and there, the overriding feeling is that they have coined and mastered their own original and distinguished style. Whilst the set maybe lacked the goosebump moments more established acts may have, the finale Ocean marked a band on the fringe of mainstream recognition – and deservedly so.