Act: The Coral
Venue: EH6 Festival, Leith Theatre
Date: 23 November 2018
Festivals, festivals, festivals. They’re everywhere at the moment and a new one seems to pop up as often as the latest avante-garde hipster bar in Glasgow’s West End. In fact, last weekend you could easily have taken in Scottish festivals on whisky, art, music or films about mountains if you were so inclined.
Suffice to say the market can be a little saturated but head down to Edinburgh and keep going to the cobbled streets of Leith and you’ll find they are carving out a cracking festival with a cool focus on craft beer, food and music. Only in its second year, EH6 Festival played host to a number of great bands and artists over a late November weekend including The Coral, Jake Bugg and Gerry Cinnamon.
Split over a number of venues, all within walking distance, the main hub was Leith Theatre and it was here that The Coral kicked off the weekend as the Friday night headliners and what an inspired choice they were.
Coming on stage slightly later than advertised, the band immediately went into overdrive with the stunning ‘Sweet Release’ from their recently released ninth studio album ‘Move Through The Dawn’. Not looking to rest on their laurels, ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’, with its pounding drums, hypnotic guitar, monotonous bass and mesmeric organ, took the crowd to another psychedelic level, tripping on a kaleidoscopic background of swirling colours and light.
Festivals can at times be a tough gig to get right for bands. Playing too much new material might turn off the neutrals in the audience but tonight The Coral got it spot on. Not just in what to play but, also, when to play it. A smattering of new material was very well received and mixed in effortlessly with the tunes The Coral are known for, such as ‘Jacqueline’ and ‘In The Morning‘.
I first saw The Coral in 2002, out promoting their self-titled debut album at the time and 16 years down the line they’ve matured from the fresh-faced scallies they undoubtedly were to a fine, tightly-honed band, fronted by the enigmatic James Skelly and who continue to deliver melodies and 3-minute psych-pop songs most groups can only dream of.
Speaking of which, a fine set is brought to a close by the fantastic ‘Dreaming Of You’, sending the crowd home, into the chilly cold night with a warm glow and a cheery smile.
I have a feeling EH6 is here to stay, finding its natural space in the congested festival calendar … and that can only be a good thing.
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