L’Islet Records Christmas Smash Up – The Vault – 19/12/20

Coastal Fire Dept.
Coastal Fire Dept.

L’Islet Records live events have been one the success stories of live music in Guernsey 2020 and so it I made sense for them to round things off with a festive knees up in their usual style, showcasing newer acts as well as their alt-rock mainstays Coastal Fire Dept, and all with refreshingly few mentions of Christmas for scrooges like me.

The night started off in slightly quieter than usual form, for The Vault on a Saturday night anyway, with Kiya Ashton.

After a few feedback issues she soon settled into her performance that went down very well with a dedicated group of fans who soon made their way to the front, though most of he rest of the room seemed happy to pretty much ignore what she was doing.

Kiya Ashton
Kiya Ashton

Kiya did a good job of adding a bit of extra force to her performance that did, along with a rather direct instruction, help quieten the crowd somewhat but it was clear that a bar more known for rock bands in town on the weekend before Christmas may not be the ideal situation for a solo alt-folk act.

Despite that, for those of us paying more attention, Kiya put in a good performance with highlights including a not too festive Joni Mitchell Christmas song, her own songs Lexi and Jacket and a nice little mash up of Sweet Decadence and Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life before the almost now expected encore of Cranberries’ Zombie that did get a wider singalong going.

Earlier in the year The Beautiful Nightmares seemed to be building something of a good reputation for themselves but now they have had a bit of a line up change and have dropped the ‘Beautiful’ making this (I think) the debut full outing for The Nightmares.

The Nightmares
Callum and Bobby of The Nightmares

Taking to the stage already a little worse for wear and, for reasons best known to themselves I’m sure, bedecked in 80s hair metal regalia (or the best they could manage) the launched into a surprisingly gritty and rough and ready set of punk tinged indie.

A cover of The Ramones’ Bonzo Goes To Bitburg, while highly energetic, went a little too far off the rails while their rocked up take on Oasis’ Morning Glory fared far better, but it was their own songs that were the best bits.

Opener, Rude Boy, was a particular highlight while the closer had something of what I can only imagine The Jam in their prime would have sounded like if they playing a similar intimate venue.

As a whole the set felt more like a work in progress but there were some promising elements in there and a lot of energy, so I look forward to seeing where they go from here, but nonetheless the whole thing went down a storm with the crowd.

Coastal Fire Dept.
Bobby and Ollie of Coastal Fire Dept.

While not an official ‘album launch’ show it did seem Coastal Fire Dept were somewhat treating it as such as they ready for the release of their second LP early in the new year and have recently dropped the EP Radio.

With this in mind the bulk of their set was made up of them playing through the new album in its entirety.

While opener Plug-in, that features a number of extra effects, made for an odd start they soon picked things up and were back on their usual fine form with new singalong favourite Fuck The Scene.

Given the fact they were playing a number of songs that never usually get played live this wasn’t the grunge rockers slickest outing, not helped by guitarist Bobby Battle (who following his appearance with The Nightmares looked increasingly like a combination of Tina Turner and Dee Snider on a bad day) needing a ‘comfort break’ part way through, but for the most part the audience were onside and it was clear everyone was having a great time so it all carried through with the more familiar already released singles providing the highlights.

Coastal Fire Dept.
Coastal Fire Dept.

With the end of the night looming rather faster than I think the band intended their final salvo felt a little rushed so their covers of Nirvana’s Territorial Pissings and School felt a little rushed and without their usual joie de vivre so the night ended on a rather sudden note, but, nonetheless, the bulk of the set and the new album sounded great and rounded off a great year for the band and their label on a fine and noisy note.

You can see some more photos of the show on the BBC Music Introducing In The Channel Islands Facebook page by clicking here

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