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The Coronas - King Tuts, Glasgow - 1st May 2012 (Live Review)

Monday, 07 May 2012 Written by Jonny Rimmer
The Coronas - King Tuts, Glasgow - 1st May 2012 (Live Review)

If you've not heard of The Coronas, you could be forgiven, as their new record 'Closer to You' is their first to be released in the United Kingdom. The Irish four-piece have quietly generated a buzz on their own shores; they have already picked up Meteor Awards (kind of like our Brits), sold out the 7,000 strong Marlay Park, opened for Paul McCartney, gained twitter followers like rugby icon Brian O'Driscoll and supported fellow celtic weep-merchants The Script at pretty much every arena The Script have ever played in.

ImageAnd so the fact that Glasgow, their first leg of this UK tour, sold out pretty quickly should not come as a surprise. With that all said, the support acts were entirely unique propositions. Wide-eyed Scottish trio Hooks N' Crooks just seemed thrilled to be on the bill, as they galloped through a brisk set of repeated guitar licks and bemusing lyrical puerility. Their natural stage presence perhaps balanced out their somewhat underdeveloped tunes, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy some of the wordplay. For example, what is not to love about 'Let me be your lover, I want to f*ck your mother'? I don't want to kill their vibe but perhaps they need a proof-writer.

Murray James brought a greater sense of musicality to the bill, with a funky rhythm section behind him, and a terrifically soulful voice. Paolo Nutini is the immediate touchstone, yes, but I'd argue that James channels Marvin Gaye, and other more retro influences, just as readily. As strong as the grooves are, I was screaming out for some more inventive chord progressions; stand-out guitar lines; augmentations; rhythm changes; anything. It's a shame because he was just about the most ambitious act of the night.

Lack of ambition is perhaps the buzz phrase that came to mind tonight. On one hand, I am okay with that. The Coronas make the exact same brand of accessible pop/rock that Snow Patrol or The Script have been plodding out for years, but is there anything necessarily wrong with that? I like both of those bands, to a very pronounced extent at least. My main bugbear lies with the fact that these acts are so sensationally static (and yet oddly magnetic). There are a few songs tonight that began with a well thought out melodic idea that is consequently just flayed, rehashed and unaltered in various ways. It is very simplistic song-writing, and yet the quartet gave the impression that their zealous execution is not phoned in – they really did look like they were loving every second.

The crowd tonight were well on board as well. The predominantly young and female audience squealed back lyrics with the same enthusiasm that you'd find at a One Direction gig. 'Someone Else's Hands' is a particular sing-along that I was happy to get on board with. The Coronas definitely know how to work a crowd – they have learned well from their aforementioned peers. Elsewhere, the results were mixed. 'Blind Will Lead the Blind' was a boring detour, with no real hook and no real character; the sort of songs that the band will need to leave behind in the long run. Better was new single 'Mark My Words', a more inventive pop piece with a staccato guitar lead and less conformist vocal hook from Danny O'Reilly.

Contrary to the prevailing elitist notion that accessible pop/rock is a bad thing, I find little to nitpick about here. The Coronas are another in a long line of trendy Irish pop acts, even if their craft is not quite as well polished as some that came before them. I doubt I'll ever buy one of their albums, but they might surprise me. This stuff is listenable and inoffensive, yes, but it is teetering on the more satisfactory end.
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