This was my first visit to one of York’s finest venues, the Crescent, for some time. This was also the second gig in a row for me where I had never seen any of the bands before, and that really doesn’t happen too often. Headliners were Coach Party from way down south, the Isle Of Wight to be precise. But more of them later, there were two rather spiffing bands on before them. First up were Yorkshire-based White Roses. They are purveyors of fine classic rock sounds, but we are not talking covers, this is their own original material. Vocally is like a cross between Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks at times. The lead guitarist is a complete master of his art and plays his axe like a young Bill Nelson. This is definitely a band for the future.
Next up was Priestgate from Driffield, which is where Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey hails from. As soon as they hit the stage and started making their huge noise I was blown away, a real what the fuck moment. Think Bauhaus, the Damned, the Skids, and even Big Country, particularly Stuart Adamson’s great guitar work with the latter two bands mentioned. Goth, punk, glam, this band has it all and then some. Lead singer and frontman Rob Schofield has that 1,000-yard evil rock god stare down perfectly, just like Jordan from Avalanche Party. The energy that Priestgate have is the equivalent of a billion Duracell bunnies and frontman Rob is one of the best I have seen in a long while.
I certainly wouldn’t want to be the band that followed Priestgate, but Coach Party did and they played an absolute blinder. They entered the stage with a weird and wonky cut-up/ remix of the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and their set was weird, wonky, and wonderful throughout. The Isle of Wight has not been a hotbed of great rock music over the years, but I think Coach Party have the talent, skill, songs, and performances to change that. Up to now, we have seen Mark King (Level 42), Jet Harris (The Shadows), Snowy White (Thin Lizzy), David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals), Dick Taylor (Pretty Things), and more recently Wet Leg. Well, frankly they can all move over and make way for Coach Party. They are a band that uses wit and humour really well in their lyrics, but not without being able to get serious in some songs. Jess’s voice is spot on and enhances the tunes perfectly in the live environment, although to be fair the recorded versions are damned good too. There is a feel of 90s grunge in some of their tunes and maybe Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. They worked the crowd really well too and we all clapped and sang along. This was a great set from a band that has an air of greatness and coolness about them. Highlights for me were “Everybody Hates Me”, “Bleach” and the staggeringly good “Shit TV” with its lyrics of pathos and comedy! I love this band!
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