The Coast + All Your Peers + The Heathers + Tom Peel @ The Rainbow, Birmingham – 13th February 2009

The Coast

It’s Friday night, and I’m at the 444 Club to see Toronto band The Coast. Minor glee ensues when I spot some familiar names on the bill – Tom Peel, and the Heathers, last encountered in a crowded Christmas gig plagued with wobbly sound and illness. All in all shaping up to be a good night then!

Tom Peel, tonight’s opening act, is a bit of a blessing and a curse for all those that follow him. His funny, quirky charm and presence make for a good atmosphere. However, it’s probably a good job that he’s a solo, acoustic artist opening for a bill featuring full, plugged-in bands, because he would be a hard act to follow if you weren’t about to do something completely different. Anyway I digress. Tom is a great guitarist and singer and if you haven’t seen him yet you really should. I admit that I was further won over by the fact that his mum had handmade all his (fabric) CD covers…mine has a dancing mouse on it. Suckered! Dancing mice aside, though – go forth and check out his website, pronto; you can listen to BlockBiscuits there. And you should.

Next! The second act tonight were The Heathers; last time I saw them they were valiantly overcoming first-gig jitters, tonsillitis and wonky microphones. The impression that I got then was that if that was the kind of performance we could expect in the face of such obstacles, we were in for a treat when they’d found their footing. And, you know, I hate to say I told you so but I wasn’t wrong. They played a really good set tonight – tight enough to bounce pennies off and blimey, aren’t they good when you can hear what she’s singing? Actually, that’s not fair. They’re good, full stop – but as I said before, the vocals didn’t get any justice last time and having had their full benefit tonight I can see exactly what I was missing. As always, This Copper Heart, September and The Other Woman’s Club stood out, with catchy refrains and great boy/girl vocal harmonies, as well as Heartache and Hairdye. The Heathers are well worth checking out, and soon; their next gig is on St Patrick’s Day, check on their MySpace for more details, and for information about where to pick their CDs up from.

All Your Peers

I had not heard All Your Peers before tonight; on further inspection this apparently means I have been missing out. Considerably. Looking back through the notes I took while they were playing, every single song has something scribbled down about the vocals, so I’ll start there. AYP have some seriously impressive vocals happening. Strong and clear, with the occasional blast reminiscent of Make Believe, which is quite welcome thankyouverymuch. Their delivery is clear and direct, backed up with solid guitars and a rolling rhythm section.

All Your Peers

I failed in my efforts to get a setlist, but the songs that really stood out were – and I apologise in advance if these are wrong – Liar(?), Out, Water, and their closing song, Waiting – they have the successful formula of combining the familiar with the fresh. Having looked online I can’t see any signs of any EPs available to buy – although I suspect that All Your Peers are very much a band to be seen live. According to their MySpace, they’ve got some gigs coming up in Leeds but there’s little other information. If they come back to Birmingham, go forth and see them.

The CoastThe Coast

Tonight’s headlining band, Toronto’s The Coast, have been touring the UK for a couple of weeks and were almost at the end of their list of dates in this country. It was a shame there weren’t more people at the Rainbow to see them before they go back, however the lack of squash made it a much nicer experience and the girl standing next to us had space to throw some serious shapes, which always improves things. Opening song, The Moon Is Dead actually reminded me a bit of the Wedding Present (in a good way) — not vocally, but in the way the different instrumental parts play against each other. The Coast have a knack for creating a very full, multilayered sound, combining melodies with a careful light touch and insistent, (impressively) precise, driving rhythms. The whole set was really strong, but highlights (for me, anyway) included Nueva York…forget more cowbell. In 2009, it’s going to be more KEYBOARD. Or if not…it deserves to be. Killing Off Our Friends, from their most recent EP, is poppy and bright, and Tightrope of course is another standout track, with a refrain so catchy it wedged in my head and was still there this morning.

The CoastThe Coast

The Coast have an interesting sound about them and successfully combine lots of different influences to make something really quite lovely. Although they are heading home soon, let us cross everything that they come back sharpish. Now, onto where to find out more; they’ve got a MySpace, a website, and you can pick up the aforementioned Killing Off Our Friends EP from iTunes.

You know when you’ve had a good night if you wake up the next day still humming the songs you heard the night before, and you’ve got Kamikaze! stamped on your knuckles. I rest my case.

Review – Gill Duckett
Photos – Christine Tellier

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