COVtember 2019 – Coventry – live review

COVtember 2019


The Loaded

Sons Of Rest

The Institutes

Crokodile Tears

The Pristines

Holy Thief

The Tin Music and Arts Coventry

21st September 2019

Paul Quinn, lead singer of The Loaded and all round nicest guy in pop has organised a weekend of local music for charity to raise money for the Coventry Music Museum, which, if you haven’t been to visit, is my favourite music museum. The Friday night went excellently from all accounts and the Saturday is being helped along by a Fighting Boredom DJ slot between the bands. 

The Tin in the Canal Basin is buzzing, we set up the laptop for the tunes and sit ready for the first band who are on almost immediately introduced by the ace compare Carl. Holy Thief sit along the front of the stage two acoustic guitars and the guy singing with his eyes closed. It’s emotional and slow and very effective. The vocal goes from low and strong to a falsetto over small guitar sounds and then gets louder, heartfelt and pain ridden. Like lost love and black hearts. The set is dedicated to the singers cousin who passed away, they raise a toast to Claire. and says with a grin that ‘On a brighter note, the music’s really miserable!’

He’s not wrong, it’s not as miserable as country and western, it’s more like miserable  pared down Rock. Holy Thief give us sad songs and stories, minimal guitar sounds so it’s all concentrated on the fragile voice. the range is exceptional, a treat and the fact that it seems near breaking point is just the icing on the cake of this well constructed but ultimately fragile set, one thing goes and it’ll all fall apart. The noise they are making with two acoustic guitars and voice is now astounding, loud, emotional and huge.

Next up are The Pristines and Jon is in the best pair of Tartan trousers I’ve seen for years, matched with a pair of cherry red Docs he does indeed look Pristine. They tune up for about a day so there’s absolutely no point whatsoever us playing any music.They launch into guitar thrash, slow bass and drums and slow measured vocal. this is properly done proper indie music, timeless and very cool, they wear black jeans and Adidas, the aforementioned tartan and cherry red docs and shorts and a calf tattoo. The Pristines are very fashion conscious. there’s a false finish to the song too – what else do you need, I’ll tell you what, low down dirty funky bass, groovy drums and small guitars, but it’s all about Jon’s voice again. The guitars come in load and strong, it goes almost quiet again, this is a powerful song,  an epic in the making. a slow staggering forward vibe, which goes to a big messy sound that’s both slow and deliberate. Neil on the bass never stops moving,as they switch to a jangly messy guitar break with skipping back drums.

The music’s confusing but it’s hanging onto the vocal to keep afloat, I like the messy moments. then shimmering guitar, slow slow drums and high vocal. this is what happens when four friends with impeccable music taste do what they want, it’s class. there’s a eggshell centre to the music, a fragility that could be really easily shattered. Paul wallops on a ton of guitar and it shakes the walls. howling guitars and deep down bass give the band a fighting chance in a scrap, but they’d still be punching with their glasses on. There’s a decent crowd now. as they stagger into a huge grinding Birthday Party blues groove, lurching and chugging forward that feels like a broken car trying to drive, like dancing on a broken heel, its flawed but massive and goes on and on and on. The Pristines, always good.

Crokodile Tears are a trio of mature gentlemen two with hats and long hair, the other a bandana, two sitting playing guitar and the other standing to sing, the singer starts by saying they they are ‘going to take you back to the sixties’ the guitar strums and sunshine streams in with the music, it’s well constructed groovy sounds, sounding bright and open. It’s bright breezy sixties pop. ‘this one goes down really well when we play old peoples sheltered housing and the like’ there’s the echo of an Irish jig hidden in the guitars, as they circle around. Then a Western saloon type of song. a sing along with gently strummed guitars, almost a nursery rhyme. There’s warmth and humour here. Funny sounding spaghetti western sounding backing and repetitive singing, it’s interesting, a collection of gentle pop music, and as they put a cut out of a giant fried egg onto the front of the stage the music carries on. Interesting and different in a good way.
The institutes are indie, huge sound with really loud drums and bass, the volume has gone up a notch. They have long drawn out vocals over hard music. driving and loud. The bass sounds thunderous the song builds up, hard and strong, it’s anthemic indie rock. There’s a full room now people getting into the music.It slows a little, still powerful and a big sound as it ends I can feels the drums in my chest. The band are well into this, focused and concentrating, the vibe gets harder and denser, falls back to a more poppy  song, catchy and cool. They finish with another indie alternative belter.
Suns of Rest also have a big big sound, they channel the vibes of powerhouse chords and harmonies from the Who and the like. They are loud then quiet then loud, you can tell by how tight these guys are that they have spent an awful lot of time rehearsing. It’s paid off too, they sound great. It’s a big slow relentless grind forward. with a tight celebratory sound. The vocalist sings with a long drawn out vocal which fits. It feels like they’re going places with their great big slow indie noise. They play more of their sixties and beyond classic rock sound, quiet and loud. stabs and slabs of guitar into the wall of Rock noise, it switches to high pitched singing and an almost jangly sound, but soon goes back to slabs of guitar and a huge noise. The vocal gets rougher and harder as the music grows, slow burning and shimmery. It gets faster and the music becomes less classic rock and more seventies punk, a really good sound which comes to and with slowly but powerfully. The last song is more what we used to call alternative rock with a high vocal, funky drummer and low interlude clangs of guitar, they did however run over and made the Loaded play a shorter set.
The Loaded start off with guitars, the sound grows, the drums kick in and they’re off. Fighting Boredom always have time for The Loaded, they are a great band with lovely people, which may not sound very punk rock but then, Paul made all of this happen so he’ll always be the nicest man in rock for me. It sounds like punk guitar mixed with an indie spirit, Paul’s vocal is a classic indie whine and the feeling in the sound grows. The Loaded have a core of concrete, made of Coventry tower block dust and rusty canal water, they have an attitude on stage and as the music gets louder it starts to distort and bleed. The room is full and people are dancing. The songs flow, slabs of guitar, solid bass and drums and the crowd are grinning as they move. Paul smiles too, I never sure if he knows that The Loaded are as good as they are, they just do it because they love to and that comes over in the sound. Pauls leans into the mic ‘I want to hear you all singing this one, no excuses’ and they carry on. They play harder and faster and louder, the punk edge gets stronger and they just rock, they make you smile and dance. The Loaded make great music and their mates love them for it. Then they seal the deal with a cover of Pretty Vacant and Paul’s grin at the reaction of the crowd says it all.
Headliners Rooted and Booted play reggae and ska. The last time we saw then they were without a bassist but that is rectified tonight by JP with the best green mohican of the night who fits right in with them. They have a false start but anyone who knows me will know that I love stuff like that, the mistakes make the music interesting and real for me. The reggae vibe is spot on with a high guitar and echoing, strong drums that lock into the bass and give the feel of old school reggae. The vocals are heartfelt and clear, adding to the overall sound and rhythm, the music is a mixture of deep bassy reggae, upbeat bouncy ska and it all has a punky funky feel behind it. it sounds classic and feels fresh, they get another person onstage who toasts over the top of the sound while a flag is waved. People are getting into it and dancing around. They complete the night with a spot of echoing dub and a carnival feeling song which gets everyone dancing. 
Best moment was Paul Quinn turning into an ultras polite Lemmy and asking for his guitar to turned up a tiny bit please during the Pristines set. I can recommend the DJs, apparently they were from Fighting Boredom. It was an excellent night of music and they raised a good sum of money for the Coventry Music Museum. Roll on COVtember 2010.

Suns Of Rest

The Institutes

Crokodile Tears

The Pristines

Holy Thief

Rooted’n’Booted’s website is, they are on Facebook and Tweet as @rootednbooted.

The Loaded are on Facebook.

Sons Of Rest are on Facebook.

The Institutes are on Facebook and tweet as @InstitutesCov

Crokodile Tears are on Facebook.

The Pristines are on Facebook and have a Bandcamp page.

Holy Thief are on Facebook.

The Coventry Music Museum’s website is, they have a Facebook page and are well worth a visit.

All Pictures and electro disco by Martin Ward, all words by Adrian Bloxham, who may have forgotten his notebook but he’s saying nothing.

Adrian Bloxham

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