Potential is a dangerous word for new bands. It’s nice to have the label but it’s how you react to it that counts. Coasts are certainly riding the crest of the hype wave (obvious pun, sorry) at the moment. I was originally all set to review their performance at Sound Control in September but unfortunately they had to cancel at the last minute. At that point, the Bristol-based act had two EPs under their belt and were building a steady momentum, garnering underground acclaim particularly from early releases ‘Wallow’ and ‘Oceans’.

Fast forward to this rescheduled pre-Christmas tour-closing show and Coasts are becoming serious hot property. Their latest single ‘A Rush of Blood’ was released on December 1st but was Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record’ way back in mid-October, prompting heavy rotation by the likes of XFM ever since. An appearance on hipster-central show ‘Made in Chelsea’ on the 8th of this month marks the end of an impressive year for the band and various music moguls are already falling over themselves to tip them as the next big act for 2015, having just been added to Radio 1’s Future Festival line-up. Their first release ‘Paradise’ is a mainstay on my iPod and so I turned up tonight keen to find out if their early promise had not been tainted by this new weight of expectation.

Wakefield’s Morain kick us off, bringing to our attention the unintentional geography theme to the evening’s acts, although this was surprisingly lost on a crowd largely made up of students. Their take on The Script’s stadium rock template is not the most inspiring although Macclesfield-based Racing Glaciers are a (refreshingly) different proposition entirely, their moody complex song structures layered with impassioned vocals borrowing a little from US acts Augustines and The Antlers.

Onto the main event then, and I’m immediately wrapped up in Coasts’ early offerings as they open up with the first two tracks of the EP which gripped my ears late last year. ‘Wallow’ is heavy and sounds huge, laden with an intoxicating confidence and swagger, whilst ‘Your Soul’ has a light summery vibe – again shot through widescreen ambition, and the distinctive croon of singer Chris Caines particularly calls to mind early Maroon 5.

Unfortunately I’m less enamoured by what follows. Coasts’ strengths are in the immediacy of their songs, which is something the band have said they are striving for in recording their debut album due next Summer. Although listening to tracks like ‘Stay’ and ‘Golden City’, I feel that some substance and individuality has been lost along the way to help allow for a more radio-friendly format. The addition of keyboards and dubstep beats don’t detract from my feeling that everything is just a little direct and even cringe-y in places in trying to please the masses.

A lost iPhone occupies the crowd during their largely-forgettable newie ‘Modern Love’, littered with oh-ohhhs, but then my faith is restored with ‘Wash Away’ which has a simmering tension akin to White Lies and a depth that has been lacking for the most part. ‘Let Go’ and ‘Tonight’ raise the tempo as the Sunday night lull kicks in, the latter is an anthemic slice of pop – Caines is enjoying himself swaying to the samba beat and singing “Tonight we are together, you bring me to life”.

We’re all waiting for the big guns however and sure enough ‘A Rush of Blood’ provides the stirring set closer with its soaring chorus sending the majority of their admirers into raptures in a scene no doubt to be repeated on E4. The encore is my personal highlight though, the reverb-drenched ‘Stone’ and their most fervently-received (and aptly-named) track of the night ‘Oceans’ reminding us of the talent that lurks beneath somewhere. Such an epic sprawling beast of a single, the lyrics “We fell in love right by the ocean, made all our plans down on the sands” goes straight for the jugular, Caines almost sounding like Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil in his delivery. As I walk out into the sleet I think this is ironic in that Coasts have bags of potential to ‘do a Biffy’ and become anthem-makers in their own right – I just hope the Bristolians don’t think they have to lose their soul in the process.

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Michael Whitehead

I think nothing of dropping everything and going out on a wet Tuesday night to go and see a band give it their all in front of one man and his dog. Maybe that's why I'm on here! I try and keep up with the vast underbelly of indie/rock/alternative talent that is criminally ignored but I'm also partial to a bit of early 80s new-wave and 90s shoegaze - someone has to be.