Review: The Coral @ Leadmilll

Words: Nick Harland. Photography: Hannah Gough

And so it begins. Fans of 00s indie rock ought to rejoice – because the 20 year anniversary tours have started. The Libertines, fresh off a recent gig in Sheffield, just announced a slew of gigs to mark 20 years since the release of Up the Bracket. And tonight at The Leadmill, The Coral are also marking 20 years since the release of their self-titled debut album, with the first show of their own anniversary tour.

The Coral

Photo Credit: Hannah Gough

Those 20 years have done little to take the sheen off an album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize just a day after its release. A proper miserable evening has done just as little to put off a sold-out crowd, who are packed into The Leadmill to relive old memories and create new ones (special shout-out to the guy at the back who projectile vomited halfway through the show – there’s one you’ll never forget).

Tonight’s show is split into two parts: the first is a run-through, in order, of their debut album, whilst the second half is a medley of greatest hits and fan favourites. Both sets are equally lapped up by the capacity crowd.

The Coral

Photo Credit: Hannah Gough

The Coral still sounds as fresh as it did 20 years ago. Opener ‘Spanish Main’ is a cracking start to the album, combining spooky feedback loops with ghostly psychedelic vocals and nautical lyrics that kickstarted the band’s ongoing – and possibly unhealthy – obsession with songs about the seaside. ‘Dreaming of You’, predictably, gets one of the biggest receptions of the night. Frontman James Skelly wrote the song when he was just 15, describing it as ‘probably the shittiest tune I’ve ever written’, but the song’s enduring popularity suggests otherwise. The band dig deeper into their psychedelic influences with the catchy ‘Simon Diamond’ and the sprawling ‘Goodbye’, which sounds like a lost Zombies tune.

The second half of the set is a victory lap of sorts. ‘In the Morning’, ‘1000 Years’ and ‘Pass it On’ all elicit huge responses from the crowd, who by now are hanging on Skelly’s every word. If the first half of the set reminded fans why they fell in love with The Coral, the second half reminded us all why they’re one of Britain’s most consistent bands. They’re back at Tramlines in July for another lap of their victory parade, and you’d be mad to miss it.

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