The Coral at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
If first impressions are important, then the opening to any concert is paramount. There was a brief shuffling on stage and the crowd was still and silent. As the white cloud of smoke began to clear there was an intangible unease in the air as if at any moment something huge and terrifying might wake from its slumber and emerge from the mist. After a five-year hiatus, English indie-rockers The Coral finally made their long anticipated return at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. Having released five chart-topping studio albums and toured with the Arctic Monkeys, the five-piece have been credited with being the first English band of the guitar group revival.
Against a backdrop of hypnotic, psychedelic artwork, they opened with Chasing the Tail of a Dream, the first single to be released off their newest record, Distance Inbetween. This dark psyche-rock track had the entire audience swaying with their eyes closed in no time. In contrast to their previous albums, Distance Inbetween has a simple, raw feeling to it. Their performance was pitched perfectly between sentimental melancholy and ghostly graveness – a feeling that was difficult to shake off.
The band playfully alternated between old and new songs and never took a moment to rest. The familiar baritone of frontman James Skelly pleased older fans whilst newly joined guitarist Paul Molloy brought an intense energy to the stage that had younger males jumping from side to side. But the highlight had to be their popular, upbeat track In the Morning from their 2005 release, The Invisible Invasion. It had the audience grinning and clapping in synchronised movement. They sung back word for word perfectly as though hypnotised under the kaleidoscope of lights. “It’s good to be back in London!” bass guitarist Paul Duffy interrupted, breaking the trance. The room responded with a roar and the raising of plastic cups.
But as the concert came to an end there was a pregnant silence from the audience. It was no surprise that they were eagerly awaiting the classic hit Dreaming of You. The funky, opening bass line quickly had the entire crowd stomping their feet and waving their arms in the air. Concert tickets were thrown up as the lights turned on and the show came to an end. As the concertgoers stumbled out into the darkness again, it was difficult not to join in with the myriad of voices still passionately singing as if under a spell.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about The Coral and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Dreaming of You here: