With The Coral’s new album, Moving Through the Dawn, boxed off and road tested, Getintothis’ Simon Kirk is on hand to watch their euphoric homecoming gig unfold.
Liverpool loves its history and, of course, rightly so. Notwithstanding the obvious that is Mathew Street, enter a boozer on Allerton Road, Slater Street, or hell, even down The Strand and there are pubs littered with photographs of their local heroes.
While many outside of Liverpool wouldn’t place them in this company, the locals know best. Yes, among these images that litter pub walls, there is always a place for The Coral.
Since their inception in 1996, Hoylake’s favourite band have pretty much demonstrated a neo-version of Mersey-beat.
Sometimes it’s to their detriment, for they have almost become one of those bands that are adored exclusively by the locals. In saying that, many will argue that this is to the band’s advantage and there’s definitely a solid case for that, too.
Throughout their nine album deep discography, they haven’t been afraid to redefine their margins by exploring new sounds. Psychedelia has always formed a part of their patchwork, but their overt explorations during The Distance in Between was almost a case of the band hitting reset.
Just when you thought they would continue this journey, The Coral throw us yet another curve ball with Move Through the Dawn. A straight up-and-down affair which threatens to cross the threshold towards contemporary pop music.
Tonight it will be interesting to see how these new tracks are received. The crowd, keen and at the ready, having escaped the foul weather that greeted them before entering the Mountford Hall.
Cut Glass Kings kick off the night and their bog and spud interpretation of psychedelic blues-rock goes down well enough.
Liverpool favourites, She Drew The Gun, follow to a rapturous reception. Louisa Roach takes the crowd on a journey of dark collage rock through the generations.
The cuts from new album, Revolution of Mind, sound great, with Roach‘s political messaging throughout very much on-point.
With She Drew The Gun drawing a groundswell of enthusiasm, it’s the perfect segue for the main event.
The Coral enter the stage to more local fanfare. Paul Molloy is the first to enter, followed by the main man, James Skelly. Paul Duffy, Nick Power, Ian Skelly and Jack Prince follow and assume their respective positions onstage.
No messing about, the band jumps straight into business with Sweet Release from Move Through the Dawn.
Chasing the Tail of a Dream follows and live it has far more muscle behind the rhythm section, giving the track a different edge altogether. Outside My Window sounds like a new brand of arena psych-rock and while some may find that off-putting to a degree, The Coral circa 2018 are built for this stage.
Wow just wow @thecoralband have just raised the roof and smashed the rafters in Liverpool. What a stunning homecoming gig. There is nothing better than a room full of people sharing a heavy dose of the coral in full flight. What a set, what a crowd, what a night. #Communion pic.twitter.com/JY8bhp5srR
— binkissimo (@binkissimo) October 12, 2018
From here the hits flow. There’s an even spread of ditties picked from the band’s illustrious discography. The one-two of Jacqueline and Pass It On is lovely and just when the crowd hold that collective thought of a having a breather, alas, not to be. Bill McCai and In The Morning follow.
The new material sounds stellar, too. Reaching Out for a Friend and Eyes Like Pearls have a nice punch to them courtesy of Duffy‘s driving bass.
Rebecca You continues the conveyor belt of hits and while the band leave the stage, they quickly return for one last projection of the love.
Goodbye receives the greatest applause of the night only for Dreaming of You to surpass the rapture of its predecessor with consummate ease. The crowd absolutely lose their shit and it’s a great thing to be a part of.
— stillstandinG (@GKenna49) October 13, 2018
Let’s be honest, it’s all been said about The Coral. There’s no need for glib platitudes or any further superlatives that have already been directed towards this band.
Tonight is a feel good factor of ten. Not in the way where you watch some predictable television program, or – dare we say – some intolerable romantic comedy.
Sure, The Coral do project an element of romance, but comedy this is not. Seeing a collective of people appreciate this band the way they do tonight is the reason we all love music. Magic and medicine, indeed.
Images by Getintothis’ Lucy McLachlan