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Coral - Exeter University Lemon Grove, 14/10/2002

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 15 / 10 / 2002

Coral - Exeter University Lemon Grove, 14/10/2002


One of the most hyped bands of the moment, Ben Howarth was less than impressed when they released their second single earlier this year, but comes away from an Exeter gig totally convinced

When I first heard about the Coral earlier on this year, I thought that they were a prime example of hype without talent. To my ears their second single 'Skeleton Key' sounded rubbish, barely listenable. As for the NME's portrayal of them as a bunch of wacky Scouse stoners, well I thought that was pathetic. But then 'Goodbye' came out. This has got to be one of the singles of the year. It has a great melody, but also a really exciting mid section where the band lose themselves in a glorious blast of rocking out. Then they reel the song in with a countdown (though this was shamelessly ripped off from a version of 'A Day In The Life' on "The Bateles Anthology 2' but never mind!) and let the great tune go again. When the NME changed tack, and started making the band sound like a gang of music obsessed kids from Hoylake who wanted to be the best band ever, well that's a lot more interesting. By the time I came to this gig another great single 'Dreaming Of You'and a brilliant debut album had been released, and its fair to say I was really looking forward to it. They drew a diverse crowd, I spotted T-Shirts advertising the Strokes, Oasis, the Bandits and Blur, but also Rival Schools and even Marilyn Manson. There were plenty of Stokes style shirt and ties, but also a whole bunch of skaters/punkers and adidas tops. Unlike bands like Ikara Colt, who only attract indie kids or Hundred Reasons, who only get rock fans, the Coral can appeal to anyone because they're so unlike everyone else who's fashionable. The Coral themselves couldn't care less about fashion and that is certainly part of their appeal. The Coral's main strength is James Skelly. He has a great voice, somewhere between John Power and Arthur Lee, with a hint of Kelly Jones thrown in too. He's able to pull it off in the live arena too, and has a great stage presence. That's not to say the band aren't good, they are, sounding like a cross between Love, Captain Beefheart and The La's, but they can really rock out when they want to or to gently float through a tender love song like 'Waiting For The Heartaches', only to explode when it comes to the chorus. The gig wasn't perfect. The band looked too big for the small stage, and you sense a more exotic venue would suit them better. They didn't play any encore sadly, and a few of their songs from the debut album aren't quite as brilliant as some of their singles, but these are minor quibbles. All in all, I had a really good time.

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Coral - Exeter University Lemon Grove, 14/10/2002

Coral - Exeter University Lemon Grove, 14/10/2002

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