Coach Party, Girl Scout, Fiona-Lee. Newcastle Cluny. 27.09.2023.

So my mantra of “always get there for the support acts” once again provides me with an artist not previously on my radar and one that reaffirms my absolute belief that i. there’s always more to a gig than the headline act and ii. it’s not just about supporting new bands but that you might just discover a gem that previously you’d never heard of.

Fiona-Lee walks on stage, just her and a guitar and delivers a superb set of songs that are open and honest. Dealing with loneliness, with the vulnerabilities of life, particularly as a woman, songs such as ‘Through It All’ and ‘Victim’ are strong, empowering and invite you to set out on a journey with her. Fiona-Lee’s voice is simply beautiful. It’s emotional, raw and straight from the heart.

Sweden’s Girl Scout deliver a perfect blend of bitter-sweet vocals and superb indie pop. From the guitar driven ‘All The Time’ and ‘Everywhere’ through the sonic assault of more thrashy, Breeders influenced ‘Monster’ and ‘Boy In Blue’, the jangly Britpop sound of ‘Mothers and Fathers’ and ‘Weirdo’, Girl Guide create a sound that, whilst steeped in snippets from (good) times past, is full is full of 21st Century feeling – upbeat melodies brilliantly underpinning lyrics that address the angst of modern day life. Certainly a band to keep a look out for and, if you’re attending any of the remaining Coach Party dates, arriving at a venue in time to see.

Hailing from the same place as soon to be (if not already) megastars Wet Leg – The Isle Of Wight – Coach Party bring an altogether harder, rockier, more punky sound to our ears.

With a superb new album, ‘Killjoy’ to promote it’s no surprise that eight of it’s ten tracks are played tonight. ‘Micro Aggression’ opens with it’s full on shredding guitars, pounding drumbeat and it’s message calling out those that gain amusement by putting others down. The perfect pop-punk of ‘What’s The Point In Life’ – all slicing guitars, rapid fire drums and huge singalong chorus “We’re all gonna die..” follows and really sets the tone for the remainder of the night.

Coach Party deal in life’s murkier moments. The anger of ‘All I Wanna Do Is Hate’, the self doubt of ‘Everybody Hates Me’, the bouncy, more chilled vibe of ‘Born Leader’, the wavering love letter, full of pain that is ‘Always Been You’. Yet despite these not exactly upbeat sentiments Coach Party are a joy to witness live. They come across as a band who actually revel in what they do. There’s smiles, knowing nodds, anecdotes that only singer/bassist Jess Eastwood understands – thoughts that Taylor Swift and Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stona Age) introduce songs in exactly the same way – and a band that bounces round the stage. They close their main set with the vicious assault that is ‘FLAG (Feel Like A Girl) and it’s furious shout of “Wanna hurt you bad just like you hurt me”.

Without actually leaving the stage Coach Party finish with the screeching punk of Parasite, ninety seven seconds of relentless noise and screaming vocals that leave you in no doubt at all that, following a summer of festival appearances and support slots with QOTSA, Coach Party will soon be on the radar of as many people as their island neighbours. Their sound, that mix of huge guitars, massive beats, jump around melodies beneath some serious, serious lyrics will, quite rightly, haul in countless numbers of todays youngsters as well as those old enough to remember and appreciate that life isn’t always one long joyful journey and that the songs of a band like Coach Party can mean so much to so many.

Words+photos: Steve White

Click on any image below to open gallery of photos from the night.


Steve White

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