Tonight The Bowery is host three live acts, two local and one from further afield. Chloe Jade Simmons is an acoustic singer songwriter, Tropic of Youth make summery guitar-pop and the alt-indie band Coasts are the main attraction.
First to grace the stage is Chloe Jade Simmons (or just Chloe Jade for short), a local singer-songwriter who has been building up a number of live performances over recent months. Opening with ‘Conflicted’ followed by ‘I’ll Let You Know’, Chloe Jade’s acoustic folk-pop songs are a refreshing take on the usual soppy love songs. ‘Sitting in my Knickers’ shows a likeable cheekiness and a sense of humour. She describes ‘Ashes’ as a darker song, accompanied by a tale of heartbreak, which many audience members can probably sympathise with. Chloe Jade also performs a Portishead cover (which she describes as her ‘comfort song’), before closing with ‘Hinges’. Simmons is a confident and talented performer, with a charming and contemporary style with sets her apart from the usual acoustic set. Chloe Jade is launching her next single ‘Best Behaviour’ at Haggler’s Corner in Sheffield on November 29th.
Next up are local boys Tropic of Youth, a relatively new act. Their danceable beats and tight melodies warm up the room after a chilled out performance from Chloe Jade. Their sound is already well-honed and fits in with the wave of tropical-inspired surf rock which has graced our ears of late. The band varies from summery pop such as ‘The Sun’ or ‘Hot Season’, reminiscent of Peace or The Drums, to a slightly heavier sound, all driven by a powerfully funky bassline. The Bowery has begun to fill up by this point, and the band has drawn an impressive crowd for a Thursday night.
They joke that they actually have a proper set list for a change, but their sound is so tight it’s hard to believe they’re as laid back as they make out. ‘Poa Kichizi Kama Ndizi’ is a standout track from the band, all Vampire Weekend vocals and calypso guitars, although the title is slightly less catchy than the track. I’m not sure who brought the palm tree at the back of the stage, but it’s definitely fitting.
The main act for this evening are Coasts, a five-piece from Bristol who formed whilst at university. They are on the road to promote this new single ‘Stay’, following on from the release of EP ‘Paradise’ in April on Tidal Records. They open with ‘Wallow’, an explosive emo-tinged song, before following it up with a more summery pop number. ‘Stay’ is a perfect soundtrack to a summer romance, and ‘Come a Little Closer’ echoes the romantic sentiment. The laid-back keys and catchy chorus on ‘Your Soul’ gets the audience into the party spirit, shuffling to the tropical beat, similar to Theme Park or Bombay Bicycle Club. As they round up their set, ‘Stone’ brings the tone back down to a more heavy sound before ending with ‘Oceans’. This is easily Coast’s best track, with a sing-along-chorus which sounds like Biffy Clyro on their summer holidays.
Comparisons to Foals, Local Natives and Bombay Bicycle Club have been drawn, and with their angular guitar sounds and upbeat drums it’s easy to see why. However, there’s a lack of consistency in their sound; it’s hard to tell where they’re going to go next. At times Coasts sound like they used to be almost a pop-punk/American rock act, who are now trying to move away to a more laid back indie groove. They are clearly dedicated musicians, and their compositions are intricate and clever, whilst at the same time being dynamic and emotive (even more impressive considering they formed barely a year ago). Their slightly confused sound makes them all the more refreshing in the sea of guitars bands out there producing the same old noise. Hopefully after a few more performances like this they’ll find their niche, and keep producing great songs.