The Coral, Delta Maid

Alex Yau 16/01/2011

Rating: 4.5/5

They're the band that you've heard and seen everywhere else. Like iRobot, you'll see them everywhere you look. Essentially they're the McDonald's of the music world, regurgitating the same generic look, flooding your eyes and ears with the most painful and annoying sight, like Paris Hilton and a long object. I'm not talking about the silver spoon in her mouth either. Radio One will hail them as the “coolest” band on the scene right now before disappearing faster than you can say Gary Glitter and a prison sentence. This applies to most bands you hear right now but thankfully there's one band who's avoided this. Their modesty is their finest asset; they've avoided the generic bandwagon just as Keith Richards has avoided drug-induced deaths. It's The Coral.

Support Delta Maid is like a combination of Springfield and Johnson. Her long blonde hair floats down as her voice resonated with a passionate cry about Wythenshawe Hospitals and unobtainable dreams of stardom. It's like Hollyoaks minus the shit storylines. Just as Mohammed Ali “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee”, Maid's country tinged voice laces itself through the delicate and pastoral guitar. Yes, she's alone on stage tonight but all eyes are transfixed on her like she's some sort of hypnotic being.

Fuck Oasis. With their classic retro sound, twangy guitars, beautiful harmonies and country - folk sound, The Coral are the real band to revive The Beatles. If John and Yoko had gone on Channel 4's Escape to the Country, The Coral might have been part of the end product. Tonight they bring the Mersey to Manchester in a gentle, acoustic fashion. James Skettle walks onstage as he grins with both cheek and a slight wickedness. Lee Southall looks particularly like a young George Harrison whilst Paul Duffy looks charmingly nonchalant. As Shadows Fall and Bill McCai, set the tone into a melancholic moodiness, all three close their eyes as they harmonise together. It's a musical ritual and we are all the witness of this magical, mystical and mysterious ceremony.

The band are just as speechless as the crowd but that doesn't matter. It's the music that does the talking with imagery of resistance, dream like states and blame. Dreaming of You is a ghostly Paul Weller at his most soulful as James sings his heart out in a deep voice that sounds like some otherworldly being. In the Morning is a mixture of sunshine and happiness that would even bring smile and cheer to Keanu Reeves' face.

With an hour and a half acoustic set, there's always the danger of dragging to a decline. Not tonight though. The final covers of Ticket to Ride and Stand by Me had evoked the souls of the “Fab Four”. The Coral looked possessed by Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison before they release themselves and fly around the room with an air of nostalgic ecstasy. Pass it on indeed.