Tag Archives: Coaves

Highlights of the Humber Street Sesh

Humber Street Sesh is a moment of joy, written into my diary before the new year has even started. It is where my blog began – the moment, last year, when I decided to start writing again.

And so I decided to treat the festival like one giant Sesh.

I try to attend as many Tuesday Sesh nights as possible, which is difficult when you work a Monday-Friday day-job (and also want to attend gigs on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). My rule for Sesh is simple: either I have to be entirely free (a school holiday with no plans to catch up with friends or other work business involving Browse) or I have to be enticed by one of the bands. This meant that I didn’t use Street Sesh as a means of finding those bands I haven’t seen before. If I stumbled past one, great, but if I didn’t, no worries. There’s plenty of time for this at other Hull festivals – we’ve got Folk Festival, Freedom Festival and Trinity Festival in the coming weeks.

So, instead of reviewing everything here (after all, you can read my reviews of the festival on other platforms), I’m going to give my highlights of the day, in no particular order.


Ryan Smith, Babies
Ryan Smith, Babies

It’s been long enough since they announced their split for me to cool down about it. I had expressed my upset to lead vocalist Ryan, but assured him that I would support them until the end. Performing on the Newcomers Stage, it seemed haunting that this was their last performance together.

I stood before the stage minutes before they were due to start, and noticed that there was some issue with a gizmo in Ryan’s hands. This issue seemed to be fixed, but it did lead to technical difficulties throughout their set. Fortunately, Babies have become used to this misfortune (at their EP launch it was Joe’s lead which lead to us not hearing his bass at all) and performed to their best ability.

Full of energy, full of smiles, Babies performed their last set with passion. The scattered crowd – their stage placed on Victoria Pier, they seemed to tower over us – congratulated them loudly as they concluded, and I spotted a couple of faces wash with momentary sadness.

All the best to the boys of Babies and their future endeavours. I doubt this is the last we’ve heard from them; music lovers tend to get drawn back in at some point.


Mez Green, Life
Mez Green, Life

It was this time last year when I was first introduced to Life, before embarking on my first press conference with these boys. So, I just had to see them perform Street Sesh again.

The Main Stage had the largest gap between performers and audience, with quite a drop were a member of the band to jump down and try to physically engage with the audience. And that’s a typical part of Life’s performance; Mez hurling himself at the crowd in a fit of energy.

I hadn’t needed to worry. Their set was as wonderful as ever. Mez moved around the entire stage, he and his brother Mick stepping over the monitors onto a platform just before the stage, conversing with the audience. Stewart Baxter, stepping in for Rich on drums, was all energy – it’s often such a shame the drummer gets hidden at the back of the stage.

The band had also been in the crowd for Babies, with Mez taking a moment of their set to comment on the band and wish them all well. Before launching – literally – back into the music, taking that dive off the stage to meet the crowd and circle the grass before the barrier during ‘Take Off With You’.


Another band who are all energy is Streaming Lights, who have been a highlight in the music scene for the last twelve months for me. I don’t think I’ve missed one of their gigs so far this year, and they never disappoint.

Performing on the Dead Bod stage, they were sandwiched between two equally popular acts – Folk royalty Hillbilly Troupe and the fantastic Danny Landau Band. Lead vocalist Steve Minns stated at the start of the set that their sound was quite different to that of the others which fit more comfortably into the Folk genre, though it worked to introduce the more rock sound Danny Landau offers.

Sadly, the lighting was too much for my camera. So I pinched this photograph of Streaming Lights from Paul Newbon.
Sadly, the lighting was too much for my camera. So I pinched this photograph of Streaming Lights from Paul Newbon.

Still, it didn’t matter whether or not they fit into the genre of the stage – that’s one of the joys of the Sesh, that all genres are represented and get their chance to perform to a diverse audience. The crowd remained, shifting slightly as some moved backwards to the Minerva bar and others moved forward to embrace the music.

Streaming Lights have adapted their set recently, taking on more instrumentals and with a range of new songs in addition to bringing back some of their older rockier tunes. A thoroughly positive performance, the crowd reacted with equal vitality; at one point what appeared to be an item of clothing being thrown onto the stage, to which Ryan Gibbins retaliated by hurling toilet roll into the audience.

They even teased the audience with my favourite song – possibly their only slow one – ‘Slipper Song’, Steve singing the first word before announcing “it’s not the night for it”, and instead launching into their latest single, ‘Box Room Boy’.

Fantastic stuff, keeping the energy at a high and ensuring that the cold of the darkening sky didn’t get a chance to seep in.


This was the first time I had seen Baby Tooth perform. I only caught the very end of their set on the Green Bricks Stage, and I was impressed that their live sound is pretty much what you hear on their recorded tracks.

What captivated me even further was what happened when they realised there was another ten minutes in which they were entitled to perform. Instead of launching into an original song or a cover of a popular grunge track, which would match their look, lead singer Nanny McGee unhooked the microphone from the stand and launched into a rather psychedelic version of ‘The Real Slim Shady’. It was totally unexpected and hilariously different to their look, but executed perfectly. I was amazing, grinning throughout the performance.


I’d expressed the difficulty in which I had in selecting a headliner when such a wonderful selection was on offer. My decision to see Coaves was based on a number of things: the Newcomers Stage was in close proximity to the Dead Bod stage where I was seconds before; it was drummer Conor’s birthday, and I’d started the day with him supporting Mark Rowland in the Acoustic Marquee; and, simply, they are bloody brilliant.

The crowd was scattered. There were ten other amazing acts on, so this wasn’t a surprise. But for Coaves, this was fine because you need space to move. Their set is fuelled entirely by high octane energy, and this is mirrored in the reaction from the crowd.

They concluded with ‘Change Your Mind’, Jonny inviting everyone to have “a really good dance”. And with the addition of a new outro, all four members huddled around the drumkit, and two confetti cannons to just clinch that loud, frantic ending which you just don’t forget easily.

I’ve heard amazing things about the all of the headliners, but as someone who’s also been a part of the local music scene for around a year the Newcomers Stage felt appropriate. An amazing day for everyone, with eleven amazing headline acts sending the crowds away from the marina with smiles on their faces and all the adrenalin to fuel whatever they planned for the rest of the night, whether that be at the official After Party or not.

Artwork on Victoria Pier
Part of the Photography Exhibition on Victoria Pier

On top of all this, I was proud to see just how involved members of Browse were in the festival. Our Arts Editor Lucy Howson was painting live alongside other artists. Three of our photographers, including my good friend Paul Newbon, featured in the Photography exhibition which spread across Humber Street and Victoria Pier. And our Editor-in-chief Mike White was a headliner himself, DJing inside the Silent Disco.

A festival for the people by the people of Hull – everyone involved, in whatever role, should be very feeling very positive right now.


Streaming Lights Headline The Sesh 30.06.2015

Last time I was at the Sesh, we were interviewing Streaming Lights. On the stunning evening of the 30th, I met up with the lads again for their headline slot and launch of their new single ‘Box Room Boy’.

Imogen Hart
Imogen Hart

A small crowd had gathered quickly, there near the front of the room to support 16-year old Imogen Hart. This was her debut at Sesh, though she has performed at other events. Imogen has a voice which you can easily lose yourself in; her songs laced with emotions. There are many young singers surfacing – from Freedom Road Creative Arts, as Imogen has, as well as other institutes – and she is one of the brilliant performers who will be taking to the In Training Youth Stage at Humber Street Sesh.

It was a powerful warm-up which got you moving to the beat. Mak compared her to Emily Moulton, stating that he was “in awe” of her talents. I have to say that I am rather enjoying these Sesh nights which start with an acoustic act: after a long day at work, you often find the need to be gently eased into the mood.

Jon Calvert - Coaves
Jon Calvert – Coaves

Next up were Coaves, who don’t do anything in moderation. They started their set in high energy with ‘Waves’, a summery upbeat number which you’d struggle not to dance to. The crowd were clapping along, singing the chorus and moving with the boys on stage. Even with their slower tracks, all four bandmembers are bouncing with energy – it’s really quite intoxicating – Jonny climbing on the furniture and Liam spinning in circles.

The only downside to their set was that it lacked their usual outro: missing their heavy attack on the drumkit.


The Polar Bear was quite busy by the time Fronteers stepped up to the stage. This band is the one I have not seen for the longest time, having seen all three others on the bill in the last couple of months, and I was glad to see that they had grown in confidence. They’re developing their sound: less cover tracks and more conversation with the audience. But I still found it was lacking something. They had regular followers dancing in front of the stage, but their set didn’t work for me with that placement: sandwiched between two physically energetic bands, I felt there was a dip in on-stage charisma. Which is a shame, because I did enjoy their set – it just wasn’t the one I remembered upon waking up the following day.

And I was there mostly for Streaming Lights, headlining Sesh for the second time this year. Mak had warned the crowd that their set would be “eventful”, stating that they were “everyone’s favourite” as he welcomed them to the stage.

Steve Minns - Streaming Lights
Steve Minns – Streaming Lights

Opening track ‘Shake It Up’ seemed to act as an instruction; the crowd quickly regaining their energy. In between songs – those from album KICK, a few older ones and newer ones – Ryan handed out CDs of their latest single. People quickly moved forward to claim this prize, though sadly the music video had not been completed on time (it is now available on Youtube) for us to take home this piece of joy.

Their funky tunes had people moving in full swing, their entire body reacting the sound. Considering the heat we’ve had, it was impressive that people had this energy left. It was certainly a rather sweaty affair; bassist Ryan Gibbins declared “I need a Solaro” before they introduced ‘Box Room Boy’, intended this to be their penultimate song. However, ending with a long instrumental, and Steve Minns telling the crowd “I love you”, we called for more. Much more: this was the first time I had experienced a double encore at the Sesh, with Steve admitting that he wasn’t sure he could remember how to play any other songs. Mak was ready to lead them into more tunes, perhaps keeping them there all night, but it was not only us on the floor who had work in the morning.

A warm night of fantastic music from four extremely talented acts: The Polar Bear was well and truly struck by a wave of scorching energy this Sesh night.

Photos by Paul Newbon

Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser

There were loads of events on this bank holiday weekend, but I’d had the tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser on my noticeboard for over a month.

At a mere £3.50, I couldn’t turn this event down. Even with a free gig on at the Larkin’s Ale Festival, I knew I would be spending the majority of Sunday with my friends and fellow muso’s down at Fruit. Afterall, it was for a good cause and twelve bands had also given up their time to entertain us free, all for this charity. A charity which Luke Bowe pointed out was of equal significance to all in the audience as “we’ve all been touched by the Big C”.

Wayward Suns
Wayward Suns

Wayward Suns kicked things off. They’re a band of young lads, who I haven’t seen perform before. Their heavy rock sound filled the room, where quite a crowd had gathered. New to me, I noticed a similar thread to their sound as I hear in Young Jack (especially with songs such as ‘Get Along’). Sharing their vocal harmonies across the three lads at the front of the stage, the lead vocalist – who also has a mop of hair similar to Luke Bowe – had a voice which reminds me of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz; melodic and raw.

Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen
Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen

Due to the scattering crowd, and the sudden sunshine, Vulgarians commented on the lack of people inside Fruit for their set. “We’ve emptied Fruit,” Ryan Wilson-Preen announced; I hadn’t even noticed until he mentioned it, but it was true that the crowd was more disperse. A shame, and rather a shock, as this band have built quite a following.

The gig was a near-sell-out and yet the venue never felt full; people came and went for the bands they knew and supported, with few sticking around for the duration. No single band had the full impact of the crowd because of this, and I felt this was a real shame.

The Froot '67
The Froot ’67

Looking rather 70s and sounding a little 60s, The Froot ’67 were exactly what I wanted to listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I am most certainly one of their newest fans, will no doubt be purchasing their debut album ‘Seven Past Eight’, for which they celebrated on the 9th at Raine Club. Bouncing vocals from bassist Stevie Newby to guitarist Louie Donoghue, all four members performed with huge levels of energy. A real delight.

It was at this point that my friend and I nipped out for a spot of late lunch, missing Attack The Embassy. However, our return was quick, eager to not miss too much, and we re-entered to the loud noise and incredible power of Cannibal Animal – whose drummer had us both transfixed as he performed in a blur of swift movements – and Dead Hormones who are the band I have seen most recently. We were straight back into the swing of things, and ready for the night to continue, replenished and excited.

Dead Hormones
Dead Hormones

The line-up from this point featured some of my favourite Hull bands; those I rave, unashamedly, rather too much about. My friend and I settled into a spot before the stage, digging our heels into the concrete floor.

Tom Skelly has a stunning voice, and I am always amazed at the ferocity with which he and his Salty Beards perform. Much like the ocean and the allure as described in popular track ‘Morning Sun’, their music sweeps over you, a never-ending wave of sound, rising and dipping to cool you with Skelly’s softer tones.

BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey
BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey

Breeze, Streaming Lights, Coaves and Young Jack never get old for me. Eternally indulgent, I could write reams just about their sets.  From the point where Breeze sang ‘Goodbye, So Long’, I was my most energetic, and mirrored the vivacity of Coaves and the highlight of silliness, Streaming Lights, who always offer more entertainment than their electric tunes.

Streaming Lights
Streaming Lights

As a prelude to the final three bands, we also had experimental The Bodyfarmers, who perform with no vocals. Their mixture of guitars – during one song being played with a bow – drums and soundboard filled the space wonderfully. It can sometimes cause people’s minds to wander, having no lyrics to focus on or sing along to, but The Bodyfarmers seemed to have the opposite effect, pulling the crowd in. Their last track appeared to knock out each of the guitarists, who fell to the floor and left the stage to the drummer and bassist, who thanked the audience in an echoing quiet (with no use for them, the mics had been turned off).

The Bodyfarmers
The Bodyfarmers

Young Jack had a hefty crowd, with people moving further forward to welcome them on stage. Playing their popular tracks as well as new funky sound ‘Move’, they were the ideal headliners; indeed taking their second headline spot this week. So enthralled were the audience, we called out for more, and reacted very positively to their cover of Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’.

Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe
Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe

Overall, a very enjoyable way to spend the day – absorbed in the music which stretched from bright sunshine to the glittering night. And though the crowd altered as quickly as the bands did, there was always a buzz in the room. Taking that into consideration alongside the £500 raised for charity, you can’t argue that the event was a hit.

And a perfect warm-up to the festival season, when we’ll be able to soak up the tunes as well as those sunny rays.

Showing Some Love For Coaves

I’ve been talking about these guys a lot recently. To anyone who’ll listen.

It’s not simply because I’ve been doing some work with them recently – they’ll feature on the cover of Browse Magazine this week. Quite honestly, I just have a lot to say about them.

Coaves at the Sesh  Photo by Luke Hallett
Coaves at the Sesh
Photo by Luke Hallett

Coaves are a band of four lively lads, who create a sunny rock sound which is quickly gets you moving. With three strong singers, their vocals are something completely different to what a lot of bands offer. Add to that their musical talents (we can’t forget Connor on drums, who Alan Raw described as one of the best drummers in Hull), and you’ve got an awful lot to shout about.

Tomorrow, they are hosting their single launch for new track ‘Waves’, held at the Adelphi and for a mere cost of £3. They admitted that the track sounds somewhat like another of their singles, ‘Change Your Mind’, but this one offers even more layers of sound and Jon Calvert, lead vocalist, has to work hard to sing some of the lines very quickly. Chatting with Alan Raw on BBC Introducing this Saturday, they noted the additional layer of sound through use of clapping on the track, with Calvert referring to himself as “singer, guitarist and clappist”. This is rather subtle on the track, but a great addition to their animated live sets.

Performing on BBC Introducing Humberside
Performing on BBC Introducing Humberside

Playing every gig like it’s packed, Coaves have gained a reputation for putting on a good show. Their last gig saw them supporting Pigeon Detectives, alongside The Hubbards, and they opened the night with a whirlwind of sound and enthusiasm.

It is their energetic style which gained my interest in the first place, and it is their flair and excitement that has me hooked. It’s not just on stage or in the studio that these guys demonstrate their enthusiasm; they’re just bouncing all the time. The banter during rehearsals is ongoing. During the set up at BBC Introducing, which I was fortunate enough to be witness to, Connor was granted several nicknames by the other lads – the teasing of good friends, which they were comfortable to share.

Attempting a serious pose
Attempting a serious pose

I was there as a member of Browse, interviewing the band for the cover feature, alongside one of our fantastic photographers, Chris Pepper, who had the task of taking several shots. Our main issue was simply to get them to take a serious shot. Chortling through the customary ‘stand in a row and look somewhat moody’ pose, we had to consider alternatives. It was neither Chris nor myself who guided this however, as Liam suggested they do a superhero shot and then they ended up behind the café counter, preparing to serve us imaginary drinks and soup.

Taking on a different role
Taking on a different role

I’m often asked who the best bands in Hull are. When I say that I’m a music writer, or mention Browse, it’s one of the first things people often question. My generic response is, “As with my students, I do not have favourites…” of which everyone knows is ridiculously sarcastic (I have favourite students, and I have favourite bands – I’m not great at hiding either of these facts). But then I’ll rush into a list of wonderful performers, and then into a list of those who are just simply wonderful. Not just for their music, but because their personalities shine.

I guess that was the purpose of this blog post. I should probably be writing a last minute preview for their single launch event. But as I sat to write their brief bio for Browse this week, I felt the urge to write more.

Coaves single launch

Why do I love Coaves? Why are they one of my top 10 Hull bands? Because they are everything I love about the Hull music scene. They’re lively lads with infinite enthusiasm, who take their music seriously but not themselves. They’re a good laugh to be around, making time slip quickly by as you join in with the silly moment which arise around them. They’re genuinely good guys who have a passion and a spirit which deserves to see them reaching those high goals.

So, a final plug for tomorrow’s event: for £3 you get a night of fantastic music from three fantastic bands, as well as free download of their new single ‘Waves’ exclusively released to those who attend.

And a final word: if you haven’t listened to their music yet, get on it!

Top 5 Browse Moments of 2014

This year has been a year of changes. A year where bridges have been mended and new friendships forged. I started a new school and joined the team of Browse Magazine.

Now, just before I look forward to the exciting newness of 2015, I’m going to look back over the last few months of 2014 – my time with Browse and the wonderful opportunities I’ve had while being a part of the team.

Photo by Luke Hallett
Photo by Luke Hallett

It started with Issue 004: MOTHER when I was asked to review the band COAVES as part of the weekly Sesh review. Three reviewers reviewing three bands; I was glad to get these guys. Their music is that wonderful mixture of sunny tunes, guitar-lead instrumentals and copious amounts of talent. Three confident singers, they come together to produce a sublime sound, and they’re never scared to try something new and admit when something doesn’t work.

Recently, I’ve been doing some more work with COAVES, who have competed in the Scunthorpe Rock Open and supported Pigeon Detectives at Fruit, and will be starting the year working with the band to promote their single ‘Waves’. They are certainly ones to look out for.

Photo by Stew Baxter, Warren Records
Photo by Stew Baxter, Warren Records

Another of my favourite Hull bands is LIFE, who featured on the front cover of issue 009. Published the same night as they performed with Kaiser Chiefs for the Adelphi 30 celebrations, we stated that that was the reason for featuring them – Black Delta Movement had received loads of press from the Hull Daily Mail, so we felt LIFE deserved a little bit too. In truth, our editor decided that if we got them in then Meg and I might stop going on about them so much. As if!

So, on top of reviewing them at the Adelphi 30 gig, Meg and I got to interview lead singer Mez and his guitarist brother Mick: our first videoed interview for the magazine. We’d both met them before at Press Pack and the interview felt much more like a chat than a Q&A, which was the perfect way to start off this additional role for the mag. We were both glad that there wasn’t the room for us to feature on the screen – the confidence for this would come later…

The Talks @ Welly

As time has progressed, I’ve taken on more and more at Browse. But issue 013 (unlucky for some) was one I felt particularly proud of. Our cover band were The Talks, an amazing ska band who I realised I had first seen perform on an episode of Hollyoaks! Working hard over the half term, I contacted the band for a text interview while they were touring Europe for their album launch, as well as writing the bio, an album review and then headed out on a schoolnight to review their hometown gig at the Welly. It was fantastic to work with them, pestering them to meet deadlines and then hugging a very sweaty Pat at the end of their gig.

And their album is one I play over and over. It’s fantastic for that Friday night feeling, when you’re physically destroyed after the working week but emotionally ready to go out and party for the weekend. Energetic tunes with meaningful lyrics – it’s easy to miss the message within the words, but you should listen to them carefully the next time you get a chance.

Photo by Chris Pepper
Photo by Chris Pepper

This leads me directly into the first time I featured on a video interview. As with issue 013, I took on writing the main features of issue 016: Black Delta Movement. Having annoyed myself at being too busy to interview Hillbilly Troupe in the previous issue, I was excited to be working with this band. I’d reviewed them as part of many of the festivals, the Adelphi 30 gig and as part of Hulloween, but I’d never reviewed them as the focal feature.

I’ve often felt the disadvantage of not being born and bred in Hull. I didn’t go to school with any member of the bands in the area – I’ve taught a couple – and often my face is just one of many in a crowd. But these lads didn’t care about that. Bass player Liam informed me that his mum reads all my stuff, and the pre-interview chat was comfortable and relaxed.

My confidence soared from this point; not just on-screen but generally in myself. I was at the point where I knew people were reading my stuff and offering me some positive feedback (always lovely to hear) and I was taking on more and more opportunities, putting myself out there and becoming a firm feature within the magazine.

Dan Mawer - La Bete Blooms

To pick a final feature is actually the hardest of them all. But I went with another band who I have interviewed and reviewed, now a couple of times. This feature was actually all a bit last minute for me. For issue 012, I met up with La Bête Blooms for a short video interview and a review of their EP launch at Fruit. Nobody else was free to interview, so I agreed. This was fine, all planned and going as expected. That was until I was informed that the person reviewing wasn’t able to make it. I turned to Luke, our photographer, and sagged at the concept of the late night before school. But I was there and it was due to finish before midnight – not too late.

I had listened to their tracks as part of the research for the interview, so I had an idea of what to expect. They’d mentioned that their live sound was quite different to their mastered and recorded stuff. But I was not in any way prepared for what I experienced in the intimate back room of Fruit. I commented that there is a beast within the band, and I stand by that. Dan Mawer is one of the nicest guys I have ever met: he never misses the chance to say hello if you’re in the same room as him, he always asks how the mag is doing, and his smile is the most positively charming sight you’ll see at the Sesh on a Tuesday. Then you throw a guitar his way and get him on that stage and you’re blinded by the transformation. That smile will be there at the start, but a guitar solo later and he is smashing the place up. I was amazed to see every mic stand upturned by the end of the set, and recall rushing home to write up my notes so that the review included everything I took from my first La Bête Blooms experience.

Four months of working for the magazine, now I can’t imagine my life without at least one gig a week and lists of artists I need to contact. My CD collection has taken on a strong Hull accent. My friends fall into two categories: those I gig with and those who listen to my constant reviews of gigs (even if they’ve just read it online).

I’ve always said you should start the year as you mean to go on. And so Browse Mag Sessions #2: NYE is the place I will be: alongside friends old and new, amidst writers, photographers, musicians and readers.

2015 sees a lot of new starts for me, but being a part of Browse is something I am pleased to say will continue. Here’s to more exciting experiences.

A Chat With Coaves

A spark of passion and a desire to make music brought these four lads together. And now, a year on from their first jamming session, they’re climbing new heights.

Coaves - photograph by Paul Newbon
Coaves – photograph by Paul Newbon

A “much needed thing” after they’d all found themselves in a messy puddle of dissolved bands, Jon Calvert, Liam Foster, Jordan van Beem and Conor Maher got together to form Coaves. When asked to define their sound, they described a mixture of influences which fused together “catchy guitar hooks” and “rhythm sections”, delivering something truly their own without settling too comfortably into any specific genre.

It’s not just about the music though, they said. “We take the music seriously”, Jordan assured me after stating that “we don’t take ourselves too seriously”. What has this band performing wherever, whenever they can, is that connection with and reaction from the audience. On stage, you’ll see them dancing around and enjoying themselves, conversing with the crowd and inviting them to join in with the fun. We couldn’t not talk about Hulloween when they dressed as Santa’s, offering themselves as a gift to the audience before dousing us in silly string. It’s that natural fervour within them that had me interested the first time I saw them perform at The Sesh back in the last few Linnet and Lark weeks.

Jon Calvert
Jon Calvert

Having performed at 35 gigs since February and regular plays on BBC Introducing Humberside, they’ve been making a mark on the Hull music scene. And now they’re working hard to move up the rungs of the proverbial ladder.

Recently they’ve been working with Mickey Dale, from rock band Embrace, to record their new single ‘Waves’, which will be released in early January. Summarising the track in three words, Jon simply said “it is good” later extending his thoughts to promote “Conor’s backing vocals” as it will feature the drummer singing for the first time. They’ve big plans for the single launch, ensuring it captures this aspect of the band throughout; the constant energy and love of music. I’d love to tell you more, but it’s going to be one of those moments you just have to experience for yourself.

Conor Maher - photo by Paul Newbon
Conor Maher – photo by Paul Newbon

Alongside performing the main stage at Trinity Festival, recording the single has been a highlight of this year for the band. They explained that it “felt really professional and sort of loose at the same time”, demonstrating the thought which goes into their work as well as the sheer enjoyment it generates. It’s with a professionalism that they take each step, learning from mistakes and complications which are often out of their hands.

One such learning curve has had a significantly positive impact on the band and the way in which they perform. This Saturday they take on the Grand Final of Scunthorpe’s Rock Open, after having been entered at the last minute. Messaged by the promoter the night before, they saw the competition as a bit of fun. However, It’s taken them on a journey which has helped them recognise what’s involved in “putting on a show”, developing them as performers and making them “more enthusiastic” about the atmosphere they can create. They want to see people dancing at their gigs, and taking opportunities like this sees them outside of the comforts of playing in hometown Hull and out into a mixture of other personalities. They “had heavy rockers dancing” during their set at the second heat, and admitted that their expectation was that these people would mock and taunt them; what better reaction could you ask for?

Describing the Lincoln Imp, which hosts the battle of the bands style contest, as “Adelphi with attitude” they considered the different venues they’ve played. Starting off the year at O’Riley’s with an audience of “about seven”, they’re supporting Pigeon Detectives at Fruit in a couple of weeks’ time, with the expectation of a sold out gig.

Jon Calvert - photo by Paul Newbon
Jon Calvert – photo provided by Paul Newbon

It’s been a fast-paced year, an educational year and a year to look back on with fond memories.

But 2015 sees higher hopes and another rollercoaster of events. Their single launch kicks it all off on the 15th January, and then they hope they can “hit all the local festivals” as well as getting “out of town a bit”. The aim seems to be not to stop, to reach for the skies and take one of those “slots at the top”.

One year on and Coaves is a name optimistically muttered in venues around their home city. Another year and Coaves should be a name bouncing from the walls of venues across the country.

This article was originally written for Browse Magazine: issue 017.

I am pleased to announce that Coaves came 3rd in the Scunthorpe Rock Open Challenge, held at the Lincoln Imp. This is a video of their performance, with popular track ‘Change Your Mind’.

 Important Coaves dates for your diaries:

  • Wednesday 17th December – Coaves support Pigeon Detectives alongside The Hubbards at Fruit. Tickets are £10 from Hull Box Office (and they are selling fast!)
  • Thursday 15th January – Coaves single launch at Adelphi. Details will be released nearer the date.

Hulloween – Round Two – Saturday Night

An even more ‘dark and surreal’ night at The Polar Bear, with bands dressed in a  crazy range of attire.

Starting the night slightly later, and somewhat more relaxed, I arrived with a friend in tow just after 7pm. Black Kes were playing, dressed as a selection of horror movie themed costumes.

My friend still feeling somewhat dicey from the night before, we listened to the first two acts from the quiet of the Smoke Room, watching lads chuck pool balls around the table. From this location, we were able to spy on Coaves who had chosen the less crowded room to prepare for their set. We chatted as they blew up balloons and stuffed them in black bin liners, discussing the possibilities of their costume choice. We were in for a real surprise.

Felony - Sam Griffin & Marc Ainley
Felony – Sam Griffin & Marc Ainley

Felony were the band which drew us into the large room, standing close to the stage (as this time I had my camera ready). I’d spotted Marc Ainley dressed very smart with a long velour cloak, and worried that this second day of Halloween celebrations may feature costumes worn a second time or simply purchased in the sale section. Sam Howell seemed completely without costume, but his outfit was explained as him being “[Marc] from last year” who had not made an effort previously. So Sam had come as Marc, Marc had come as a wizard and Daniel Griffin was a speedy zombie on drums.

Marc Ainley tackles the issue of a hot stage in a cloak
Marc Ainley tackles the issue of a hot stage in a cloak

The performance was as smooth as Felony always are on stage, with tracks played from their debut album ‘Come Back Home’ and cheery conversation with the crowd. Marc was clearly having issues with his wizard cloak, as I had worried many of the bands may have with their costumes, and tested a range of ways in order to overcome this discomfort, often to the humour of the audience. The best moment was when he tried to deal with the heat on stage by throwing the cloak over his head and singing into the mic with his face veiled by the fabric. It looked brilliant, and sounded okay, but he couldn’t continue for the whole song in that manner. They admitted that not many of their songs are overly spooky, declaring ‘My Bad Dream’ as “probably the scariest song we do’.

Jon 'Santa' Calvert
Jon ‘Santa’ Calvert

Next up were Coaves, who decorated the stage before themselves. Stringing Halloween themed lights over the mic stands, I wondered where the balloons fit in. I was convinced that their costume was a coat of balloons, but knew that this would be impossible for them to play any of the guitars. And when they did come out, it was quite a shock to see their choice was not so much Halloween-themed as Christmas-themed. Four Santa’s throwing sacks of balloons into the audience, we were laughing and cheering before they even set foot back on the stage. The holiday theme range through their banter, as they offered their new song ‘Waves’ as a Christmas gift to us all and asked us to come in closer and look under the gift-wrap. There were still a few issues with the costumes, as Jordan van Beem ended with his red trousers around his ankles and Liam Foster declared himself the “sweatiest Santa”. Their best bit was the finale, when they grabbed cans of silly string and smothered the audience in the colourful decorations.

Santa Coaves - Jordan van Beem, Jon Calvert, Conor Maher & Liam Foster
Santa Coaves – Jordan van Beem, Jon Calvert, Conor Maher & Liam Foster

After their set, my friend and I ended up chatting to the members of Black Kes, who by this point were rather inebriated. Though their wardrobe choices stuck closest to the Halloween theme, they were perhaps not the most thoughtful. Coaves had shocked us and had the audience hooked as they used the theme within their performance. Besides, a sweaty Santa with his trousers down is kind of scary!

So were there to be an award for the best dressed band of the weekend, I would have to give it to Coaves. A wonderful effort which took the costumes that step further as they decorated both the stage and crowd. But for the most excitable band, I would award Black Kes, who were not disheartened when we admitted that we didn’t see their set and directed us to like them on Facebook (a deed I have done).

We stood with Black Kes and then chatted with one of the organisers, Mein Host / Martin Lewsley, as Mono Life took to the stage, getting a taste of what we can expect from next year’s Hulloween. I’m not very good at describing the sound engineered electronic dance music which he performed, but I am always amazed that one man can have so much energy on the stage. With a band you have a family, a comradery, whereby if there is a technical hitch or you miss something there is someone there to either help you out or make a joke of it so that it becomes a part of the performance. Nevertheless, Mono Life performed with a smile on his face, made rather frightening with the darkened eyes and scar drawn on his cheekbone, showing the true professionalism of performing music.

Tobias Reaper & The Graveyard Shift (AKA Black Delta Movement's Liam Kerman, Matt Burr, Jaconb Tillison, Dom Abbott)
Tobias Reaper & The Graveyard Shift (AKA Black Delta Movement’s Liam Kerman, Matt Burr, Jaconb Tillison, Dom Abbott)

The last band to perform were the mysterious Tobias Reaper & The Graveyard Shift. Otherwise known as Black Delta Movement. The clues had all been there, and I’d told my friend that I expected it to be the neo-psychedelia garage band. It’s only about a month since I last saw them perform, but I found I was excited about seeing them again, having felt like it had been a lot longer. As well as their own tracks, they performed a few covers, with Halloween-themed songs such as ‘Season of the Witch’ and ‘I Put A Spell On You’ which ended their setlist with a loud, energetic instrumental.

That wasn’t enough for the crowd however, and so an encore was called for. And to my joy, they chose to accept with a performance of my favourite BDM song ‘Butterfly’.

During this the laptop, which had played a very bizarre film in the background throughout the night, ran out of juice. Feeling similar myself, and resenting my decision to wear heels, I was glad to call it a night here. We hung around to find that I hadn’t won the framed Hulloween poster in the raffle and headed home.

The weekend of Hulloween has been amazing. Fantastic bands, good artwork, some very weird movies watched as a silent backdrop, and having met and chatted to so many different people. What I enjoy about venues like The Polar Bear is that they are laid out in a manner where groups can join and mingle, but more significantly are the welcoming people involved who willingly chat and discuss the event with you. Ideal for someone reviewing the celebrations, but also something which makes you want to go back.

I’ll not dish out any of the weird thoughts Lewsley shared with me about Hulloween 2015, and simply place my first preview here: make sure you attend at least one aspect of the event, as it will leave you feeling pleasantly creeped out.

Thank you to Martin Lewsley, Anna Bean and Lloyd Dobbs for organising the event and inviting me to discuss any questions I had. Also to the performers who gave some of their time to chat with me as well. And to everyone who attended either at the Union Mash Up or The Polar Bear, as they made the environment even more enjoyable.

It’s been a busy weekend attending both nights and venues, but one which I would happily do again.