The Coast : Live

<img src="" alt=" " />The Coast washed over Manhattan for an atmospheric set....

  The Toronto band has been labeled “Canada’s best-kept secret” by MTV, and they certainly show a skill that belies their young years, first on their self-titled EP (QRO review), and now on their U.S. tour.  Showcasing tracks from their upcoming Expatriate (QRO review), the band actually fit well in the somewhat imperfect Rehab (QRO venue review) in New York on Tuesday, July 8th.

On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, just north of Houston, Rehab isn’t an ideal venue, because it’s sort of stuck between two worlds.  It’s a basement venue like such low-scale Bowery haunts as The Cake Shop (QRO venue review), but done up more professionally than even the higher-scale Mercury Lounge (QRO venue review).  Yet the stage is only a step or two above the ground, and it’s long and thin, as opposed to wide, which practically invites the crowd to hang farther to the back.  The somewhat random line-up of lesser acts doesn’t help much, either, as it doesn’t encourage people to stick around for the next, or show up early for the previous.  Playing on the Tuesday after the Fourth of July long weekend doesn’t help, either.

Yet The Coast really made it work – and that was in spite of a couple of technical errors when the singer changed instruments.  Their sound certainly hews to the expansive guitar atmosphere of the ‘Canadian Invasion’ of a few years ago (though The Coast does it with fewer members), but that made the more removed crowd a more relaxed setting.  And the young men were quick enough to fill their unscheduled breaks with enough wit (jokes about being picked up on the side of the road by a born-again Bible distributor & that they’re not bowing after every song – their set-list is just really small and they have to lean over to see it).

Of course, the main factor is the music, and that’s something The Coast are very good at.  Playing almost exclusively from Expatriate, they hit up such great tracks as single “Tightrope” (with its wonderful “Hey, hey, you!” chorus) and the apropos “Nueva York”, which really give the feel of being one person in the big, big city.  Perhaps because those are so great, it was the later songs that really took a step-up, live.  “Ceremony Guns”, for instance, was even more crashing in its attack, while the following “Floodlights” was an excellent wash.  And “The Lines Are Cut” (from the EP) was a kick-ass finisher (which the band thankfully did not skip – their technical difficulties forced them to skip one of their last three songs), as all four delivered an energetic crescendo.

The Coast playing The Lines Are Cut live at Rehab, NY:

Considering The Coast’s newness, the unreleased nature of most of the material, the venue, and the day of the week, the crowd was surprisingly pretty familiar with the band and into the set (not being as skuzzy a venue as some of the Bowery haunts meant a higher class – or at least more attractive group – of people).  The Coast might be too late to jump in on the original ‘Canadian Invasion’ (though they’re really tailor-made to open for one of those bands when they tour The States – Broken Social Scene, are you listening?…), but they do prove that Toronto is going to be an indie-rock bellwether for a long time to come.

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