The Coral – Lyric Theatre, Salford Lowry – 17th July 2010

Posted on July 23, 2010


written for High Voltage

The music industry has become an increasingly fickle entity.  Record labels are now far more inclined to drop underperforming artists, making musicians seem disposable and temporary. Stories of record labels showing blind faith in a band they have a passion for seem a distant memory, with most music acts now lucky to get a couple of releases under their belts before they are thrown mercilessly onto the scrap heap. Therefore, huge credit must go to The Coral for genuinely standing the test of time. In such a difficult working landscape they have remained surefooted, consistently releasing new material for the best part of a decade. Tonight at the Lowry, they provided a solid display of musicianship and proved unequivocally that they are an accomplished outfit deserving of sustained success. They will never be a massive band, but they have enough ingenuity to ensure that their small band of loyal fans remain happy.

With longevity comes the comfort of knowing that you have plenty of material at your disposal when performing live. They played tracks spanning the length of their career tonight, with songs from their first album proving particularly effective. High-octane numbers such as ‘Wildfire’, ‘Spanish Main’, ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Calendars & Clocks’ eventually roused a rather subdued audience, culminating in a small stage invasion during the encore. They also showcased material from their latest record ‘Butterfly House’, but, in truth, these songs were lacking the passion and intensity of their earlier work. ‘Green is the Colour’, ‘More Than a Lover’ and ‘Falling All Around You’ are nice songs but they didn’t quite resonate to the level required in a live situation.

Despite being written off by some as 60’s regurgitation, their sound is in fact rather more eclectic, with West Coast psych-pop, folk, Ennio Morricone and Simon and Garfunkel just a few of the detectable influences one can trace. They write some excellent vocal harmonies which add a touch of quality to some of their songs and they play with great professionalism. There are some limitations, with some poor lead guitar playing the principal offender, but overall they remain a relevant and impressive band.

A solid showing tonight, and the fact that none of the band have even turned 30 yet, suggests that The Coral may be around for a lot longer yet. Their musical nous is obvious and they have garnered a huge amount of experience in their career to date. I certainly wouldn’t begrudge them further success.

words by Rob Pollard                                                                      photography by Sam Ellis

Posted in: Music