First on stage was Ollie Goddard, frontman of indie rockers Coastal Fire Dept., in acoustic solo mode. Playing a selection of ‘covers’ of the band he fronts, along with a Pixies number or two, he played with a sense of conviction that showed these songs come from a very real place.
While most in The Vault seemed content to treat it as background music, those watching and listening were given a good show – but I couldn’t help thinking the songs would be taken to a new level with a full band behind them.
Things took a turn for the poppy as Paper Saints took to the stage. This was my first time catching the band that evolved from the now defunct Party In Paris and, while the have retained the pop vibe, it now comes with a much more synth heavy flavour.
With the music lead primarily by Toby Boucher’s keyboard, and with an electronic drum kit and occasional saxophone, it was like taking a trip to the 80s, but unfortunately without the energy of the like of Depeche Mode, Eurythmics or Yazoo.
While the band, for the most part, all delivered their parts well it was hard to escape the slow pace of the songs that led to whole set feeling a bit on the flat side and failed to show any member in their best light. The distraction of a mid-set raffle announcement didn’t really help matters either.
The music couldn’t have been much more different next with To The Woods firing off on their return to the bars of St Peter Port after their performance at the White Hart earlier in the summer. It seemed frontman Bobby Battle was in confrontational mode, despite most of the crowd actually being on his side this time round, and while their were fireworks in the sky outside he brought his own to his band’s performance.
Despite this the band’s usual, positive energy wasn’t far away as Battle relaxed into the set, including a mid song drinks order over the stage-side bar, while James Ogier was even more animated on stage and Dan Garnham looked more like a barely contained drumming animal behind the venue’s much discussed drum screen.
While the audience drifted somewhat (possibly due to the Proms’ fireworks display outside) most returned by the end and even got a brief mosh pit going to round off another storming set in To The Woods’ journey to their upcoming double album release next month.
After another brief charity raffle announcement post-rockers Lifejacket hit the stage with the more focused approach they showed at the Vale Earth Fair still solidly intact. From the start they blitzed through the set with high-speed and huge energy that has always typified their music.
While the crowd initially drifted again, possibly due to the tonal change, as the set went on they warmed to it while Lifejacket were at their most engaging with Andy Sauvage’s focused, intense delivery backed up by a loose and relaxed John McCarthy on bass and the powerful drums of Claire Mockett.
A brand new song near the end of the set typified all that has become Lifejacket’s sound, showing a band developing strongly but still keeping their essence intact. Set closer Yacht Shoes brought things to an end with a wall of distorted sound all of which seemed to go down very well with both the crowd and the staff of the bar.
Being a charity show of course one of the main aims, as well as showcasing some great music, was to raise some money and over the course of the evening more than £800 was raised for Grow Limited and Guernsey Mind making it a successful night all round and another great example of alternative music getting heard in St Peter Port.