There are these moments that are so short that they end before you realise they are happening, but so intense that they leave your body shivering, gasping for breath and utterly confused but longing for more. Coves’ Thursday night gig was one such affair.
Coves is the name of the psychedelic pop act of Rebekah Wood and John Ridgard from Leamington Spa. You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of them, like I hadn’t up until this gig, as they only released their debut album, Soft Friday, last March. If that’s the case though you quickly need to correct that mistake, as at the rate they’ve been going, they will soon reach Alt-J’s status in indie band world: in less than a year, they have amassed a strong amount of airplay, played at festivals and supported The Raveonettes on their US tour. And with a new EP coming out in April, it looks like the duo is only going onwards and upwards.
Also, like I found out last night, they are pretty amazing live. Тhe venue they had chosen was Corsica Studios – an indie arts space located right under the railways of Elephant and Castle station, as dark and edgy as their own music. As I arrived there, the whole band – the duo themselves and their support in the face of two drummers and two bassists – were onstage, but although loud recordings of their album were playing, the microphones were not working properly, so the crowd were left with an empty stage and building anticipation. Twenty minutes later, the problem was resolved and the band were back onstage under a shower of loud cheers.
No time was left for introductions, so as soon as they reappeared, Coves hit us hard with ‘Fall Out Of Love’, which is also the opener of Soft Friday. I was amazed by the quality of their sound: the double drums were apocalyptically loud, but they were far from drowning the instrumentals and the vocals, which were easily riding the noise like a surfer on a massive wave. Expertly put together, their mash up of psychedelic, electropop and heavy garage rock, coupled with Beck Wood’s rock n’ roll charm were an unstoppable force.
During the fairly short set, one could see the incredible versatility of their music. Among all the pounding drums and razor-sharp guitars, one could hear Temples-styled psychedelica in ‘Let The Sun Go’, the sweet melancholy of ‘Bad Kick To The Heart’, and the Eastern flavour of ‘Shot To The Wall’ from their upcoming EP. But the common feature of all the songs they played was the way they made everyone in the room dance and head bang like they were possessed. Indeed, Coves’ records are refreshing and energetic, but comparing these to their lives would be like comparing a cup of coffee to a pack of caffeine pills: the immense energy the band produced was enough to keep us awake till sunrise.
This is where the only drawback of the gig comes – Coves were only onstage for less than an hour, and long after the show, some of the audience just refused to believe the gig was over and they hung about in desperate hope for an encore which was not to happen. However, the band made every second of their short performance count: they were barely stopping to catch their breath, wasting no time playing fillers or in awkward attempts at getting jokey with the public. And despite their quick exit, no person from the audience left Corsica Studios unconvinced that we are about to see much more of the Leamington Spa duo.