Photo: Ruth Field
Coasts + DEAD! - Secret Company
February 26 2016
Words: Linn Branson
It's always a treat to be able to come away from a gig feeling well and truly satiated and to be able to write an honest opinion that doesn't need gilding to lessen the fact that you were bored by the third number. Tonight was a very good night. Even being stuck way up in the seated rafters of the Chalk Farm Roundhouse (which PRs always seem to think the press prefer somehow), it was hard not to still be caught up in the atmosphere created by Coasts.
Photo: Megan Sanders
Opening the night was Little Indie favourite, Chelmsford's Secret Company. We weren't the only ones it seems who have become enamored of this band, with several young ladies tweeting them later remarking how, erm, well, fit they were. Not having our binoculars with us, we couldn't vouch for that, though we know them of old - and yes, they are...rather a good-looking bunch! Bathed in purple hues, they included current single 'Picture' and old favourite - and which first brought them to the ears of most, 'Holding On'. Their style is lush and polished, with each song honed on guitar-driven melodies and soaring pop assurance, with lead singer and guitarist, Scott Revell, dishing out the indie boy charm, particularly when taking to acoustic guitar for the first half of the sensitive 'Midnight Rush'. Closing on debut single 'Saviour' and 'Fever Of Love', from last year's EP release, Secret Company proved that with their bunch of well-crafted tunes there's more to them than just good looks.
DEAD! I have to admit were a new one on me, and even after an attitude-fuelled (from their frontman, at least. I have never heard the 'F' word uttered so many times in the space of a 30-minute set) performance of relentless energy and frenetic low-slung guitar whirling, am still unsure as to whether I really didn't like these Southampton punks or... I really did. They've put out several singles - their recent 'Skin' getting them Radio 1 airplay, so they're probably doing something right - and an EO over the last couple of years, and would seem to gave a small cult following. While I don't think this kind of large venue is the right one for their let's-get-a-mosh-on punk sound (a rammed Barfly over the road might suit them better) and probably not for dispassionate viewing from afar either, they're a young band and it may just be a case of getting the right breaks. They're playing The Great Escape in May (along with Reading/Leeds amongst others), so another objective hearing may be on the cards.
Photo: Angel Witney
After a lengthy break, the lights finally go down and the cheers go up, and as Coasts take to the stage, a hundred camera phones light up in the packed well of the main floor space, as it reverberates with crowd calls and applause. It's a big night for the Bristol-founded five-piece, not just a sold-out London headliner, and their largest headlining venue to date, but it's also an opportunity to display the efforts of their debut album released in January.
This band built for stadium crowds with big rousing songs, set dancing bodies and singing crowds off from the opening notes of 'Wallow' and didn't let up. If bands were made on live audience enthusiasm alone, Coasts must have reached the pinnacle. With frontman Chris Caines setting alight female fan hearts with some of the most orgasmic body moves and tousled hair shakes one's fantasies could only dream of (think, The 1975's Matt Healy, but without the pretension factor) as he caused screams befitting a bit band member, plus the accomplished playing of fellow band members, Coasts are the probably one of the best all-round acts currently to be seen, and impressively with a live sound that is on par with the studio recorded versions.
Photo: Gary Brewer
With just one last song to end the night, large inflatable blue and white balloons emblazoned with the band's 'C.' emblem rained down from the ceiling as 'Oceans' stirred up a tsunami of last number delirium. As Coasts now head to Europe and the US, you can see that it won't be too long before they step up to four-figure capacity venues and are headlining major festivals.