Photography: John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com

The Coral

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  • Marvin Powell
Jimmy's Liverpool 1/8/19

Kicking off in considerable style, the Liverpool branch of Mancunian gig parlour Jimmy’s opens its Merseyside account with a headline show by THE CORAL. Descending the stairs past a mural that pays homage to George Harrison, rumoured to have written his first recorded Beatles’ song inspired by a night in the former venue, folk/roots singer-songwriter MARVIN POWELL is first onstage.

Assisted by The Sundowners’ Fiona Skelly on harmonies and percussion, and a lead guitarist on a baroque 12 string axe, Powell’s material draws from traditional folk influences with nods to Paul Simon and Neil Young. The best moment arrives with a haunting rendition of EP title track Salt while the off-kilter time signatures and delicate arrangements of Prophesy flags up a clutch of new tracks.

A romp through the set the band have been airing on the festival circuit, the chiming Brydsian guitar motifs of Jaqueline heralds the start of THE CORAL’s headline stint. Underlining how strong their live set is, several of the Hoylake outfit’s best known songs are thrown in early as the intro to Pass It On is greeted with a roar of recognition early doors while the keyboard riff to In the Morning is chorused as loud as the lyrics.

The Coral Image 2

In keeping with the career-spanning set, with cuts from every album present,
James Skelly’s voice has oak aged, crooning his way through Eyes Like Pearls Scott Walker style, and still able to summon up the power that drives the bitter narrative of In the Rain.

The song that signaled their return from hiatus, Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’s title track of 2016s psych garage alloy, is given a toughened-up rendition, doffing its fedora to the New Orleans’s swamp boogie the recently departed Dr. John took to the world. One of their sharpest 45s, Sweet Release is superb Guerrilla-era Super Furry Animals esque glam rock while debut album character study Bill McCai retains its poignancy. Elsewhere the woozy 1,000 Years is sun dappled West Coast rock while Miss Fortune is excellent, Bunnymen-esque expansive psych pop.

Venturing off into the stratosphere, traditional set closer Goodbye swerves into Syd era Floyd territory led by keys player Nick Power, taking a reference to Set The Controls For the Heart Of the Sun, before its countdown sequence sees it return to Earth with a bang. A quick romp through Dreaming Of You harmonized perfectly by the crowd, the lights go up and the sweltered, fully sated crowd head upstairs.

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