When my future grandchildren ask me, ‘Grandad, where were you when you heard that Queen Elizabeth had died?’ I can confidently reply, ‘On my way to see Coach Party‘s headline spot at Jimmy’s in Liverpool’. To paraphrase Orwell ‘All gigs are memorable, but some gigs are more memorable than others’. This was one of those others.
Heading out of Liverpool Central Station the advertising hoardings had already replaced their usual images of perfumes and smartphones with portraits of the Queen, and the usually bustling Bold Street seemed subdued. Downstairs in Jimmy’s however, despite there being only one topic of conversation, a certain sense of normality remained.
The support act for the evening were local band Seagoth. Suppliers of psychedelic tinged dream-pop, Seagoth were until recently a duo consisting of lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Georgia Ochoa, and bassist/vocalist Hannah Gannon. Their electronic dreamscape, soundscape has been enhanced with the addition of a real-life drummer, Oscar, whose input gives Seagoth’s sound an added earthier footing. There were elements of African guitar rhythms in songs like Find the Time; and new tunes Amorphous and Don’t Stare carried the hallmarks of Seagoth’s psych-pop sound.
Entering the stage to a mind bending, genetically modified version of The Human League‘s Don’t You Want Me, Coach Party launched their headline slot with Lola. I really hope that writing and performing songs such as Really OK On My Own, Everybody Hates Me, and Breakdown is a cathartic experience for singer Jess Eastwood, otherwise I spent a thoroughly pleasurable evening wallowing in someone else’s self-pity and self-examination.
Some bands songs have unnecessarily long preambles, but Coach Party don’t fuck about. As an opening gambit I don’t think you can beat the first lines from Crying Makes Me Tired. ‘You’re a prick and I hate you. The way you try to control me makes me wanna puke’ is about as good a plain talking opening couplet as you’re ever likely to hear.
It’s hard to pigeon-hole Coach Party’s sound, they are like naughty children thieving little pieces of musical pick ‘n’ mix and dropping them in their bag and giving it a good old shake about. The previously mentioned Crying Makes Me Tired has a proto-grunge Pixies/Breeders feel to it, 3 Kisses is almost glam in its pounding simplicity, and there’s a touch of Joy Division in the stark style of the start of Shit TV.
The elephant in the room got briefly addressed. ‘Weird day, eh? Don’t really know what to say.’ said Eastwood, before asking the crowd if they had anything to say. When there was no response, everyone considered the matter closed, and we could all move on.
My earlier concerns about the state of Jess Eastwood’s emotional wellbeing were put to bed when she related the story of the band’s only other Liverpool headline slot. ”Last time we were here I met a crying girl in the toilets who said, ‘I love your songs especially I’m Sad‘, and I thought – Cheer up bitch!”. With that I felt more relaxed in my own enjoyment of the evening.
Coach Party’s set culminated with the brooding, soft/loud builder – Sweetheart; the shrill, warning against controlling partners – Flag (Feel Like a Girl); and culminated with the pulsating, urgent Can’t Talk Won’t. My previous concerns for the band’s emotional wellbeing briefly recur as the song climaxes with Jess Eastwood screaming ‘Don’t think that I wanna die’, while guitarists Steph Norris and Joe Perry echo, ‘Wanna die, wanna die, wanna die, wanna die.’ If you like brilliantly delivered existential grungy power-pop songs about insecurities, self-doubt, and toxic relationships then Coach Party are travelling right up your street.
Signed to Chess Club Records, making them stablemates of Phoebe Green and Alfie Templeman, Coach Party already have two excellent EPs under their belt – Nothing is Real and After Party – a debut album can’t be too far down the line. Buy a ticket for the Coach Party and jump on board, it promises to be a memorable trip.