THE CORAL // ORAN MOR, GLASGOW
The Coral played a knock out, sold out show in the perfect Glasgow venue Oran Mor, and proved that over 20 years after they began they can still put on a euphoric night to remember.
Atop Byers Road, one of the trendiest streets in Glasgow, is the converted Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church that is now known as the Oran Mor. After being built in 1862, the now large bar and gig venue is famous for hosting unique, bands and for the incredible ceiling design by Glaswegian artist Alasdair Gray. Fans of The Coral needed to act fast to get tickets for the night as their popularity far succeeded the space’s capacity. But for lucky attendees, this made for a show that felt intimate, lively and precious.
In Merseyside, 1996, The Coral began to take their shape, briefly starting off as Hive. It wasn’t until 2002 that the band released their eponymous, critically acclaimed, first album, which launched their melodic, psychedelic, folk-rock to the ears of the masses and quickly heads began to turn. Prior to this they had pricked the ears of the late Alan Willis, who headed label that was soon to sign the bad Deltasonic. Their most successful tracks are irresistibly catchy, hum-along ditties that speak of a universal sense of melancholy and often have an enigmatic mention of the sea.
The band are heavily associated as heading the Cosmic Scouse movement and it’s clear from their sound and some of their mentioned influences, Pink Floyd, Can and Captain Beefheart, as to why. They also founded their own record label in 2013, Skeleton Key Records and self-produced their most recent album ‘Moved Through the Dawn.’
On the night of their gig, a friendly, excited crowd fill the Oran Mor’s lower level gig space. The Coral have wonderful universal sound that appeals to young and old, and this was reflected in the audience that that turned out for the show.
The band was sharp taking to the stage and played a brilliant twenty song set. The Coral’s songs rarely extend over 4 minutes and they have amusingly said in interviews that if tracks like theirs were any longer then they would be delving into the territory of progressive rock. Their opening track was the edgy and cool ‘Sweet Release,’ a single from their latest album that somehow mixes a classic punk with modern indie. This is cleverly followed by the hard guitar track ‘Chasing the Tail of a Dream.’
Next the band play more from ‘Moved Through the Dawn’ with the track ‘Outside my Window’ and ‘She’s a Runaway,’ the latter being my personal favourite from the album, dripping with hippy charm, the track is a vintage throwback.
On stage the band look at home and all look incredibly comfortable. James Skelly is only the member to address the crowd and he completes almost every song with a ‘Nice One,’ despite the joke not really landing with this crowd, he diligently persevered with it.
Coming up to the set’s mid-section, The Coral play some of their most well-known hits and the crowd are sea of bobbing and swaying. At this point they play the soft, drift-away, love song ‘Jaqueline’ and the delightful, massive hit ‘Pass It On,’ a track written, initially, without instruments while James Skelly was sat on a train, thinking about The Who.
This creates a huge build up to band huge hit ‘In the Morning.’ This track turned out to be the second most played track of 2005 on UK radio. The crowd jumped in time and belted out the melody.
The set is also highlighted by the bright and colourful track ‘Miss Fortune’ as well as the popular, grab your buddy and sway them, number ‘Reaching out for a Friend.’ Towards the end of their initial set they play the song ‘Eyes like Pearls’ and performed it so beautifully that audience seem to float on every cord.
The set is finished with a wonderful cover of The Yardbirds ‘Heart Full of Soul’ and their somewhat matching song from their latest album ‘Stormbreaker.’
The band’s encore is perfect. The incredibly fitting ‘Goodbye’ is first played. This track has brilliant break in it where Skelly counts down the return of the electric guitar’s catchy hook – a perfect track for a crowd to lose what’s left of their minds too. Of course, ‘Dreaming of You’ was not omitted from the set and was played as the band’s finisher. The fans seemed to know every word and every timing; and everyone seemed to be dancing with anyone around them before solemnly try to accept that this was the night over with.
The Coral are band who keep growing and evolving but they still keep the links that attracted the fans that made them the fame they have today. Their sound performing live is sublime. My only negative of the night was the lack of dialogue for the crowd and the absence of any tracks from the off the wall mini-album ‘Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker.’ However, any psychedelic or hippy/folk rock fans should get themselves to see The Coral by any means necessary for a night they will want to rave on about for months and months to come.
SETLIST: | THE CORAL : ORAN MOR, GLASGOW - 07.03.2019
Chasing the Tail of a Dream
Something Inside Of Me
Outside My Window
She’s a Runaway
Pass It On
In The Morning
In The Rain
Reaching Out for a Friend
Eyes Like Pearls
Heart Full of Soul - (The Yardbirds cover)
Dreaming Of You