A while ago I came across Coal and really liked the two tracks of theirs that are online. I did, however, get the feeling that both were missing something and decided that that ‘something’ would undoubtedly come from seeing Coal live, and so I was really keen to see the band. Lucky for me I didn’t have to wait long and got my wish last Friday when they supported Van Coke Kartel and Stonecollar at Mercury.
First off, I didn’t know Mercury was capable of as much versatility as I’ve seen there in the last while – laaast Friday I was there watching Taxi Violence, Sabretooth & Peachy Keen which was the typically rocking kind of gig I associate with the venue. Then, on Tuesday, I was there with some friends at the LMG pub quiz and barely recognised the place as it was packed with tables (and well illuminated)…then came another surprise for Friday’s acoustic gig.
There were candles everywhere, cushions and chairs set out on the floor (and on the usual stage) and the ‘stage’ itself was in the centre of the room. While I wasn’t convinced this setting would suit VCK it worked perfectly for Coal. They were the band I’d come to see and they didn’t disappoint – their music is really lovely, sort of like pretty, dark lullabies, and their cover of Bat For Lashes’ What’s a girl to do? was cool too and a great choice.
Having seen an acousticky set I’m curious to see how it differs from their regular shows and will definitely be checking them out again…
Up next were Stonecollar. I listened to a few of their tracks on Facebook before the show; their sound is very heavy, I wondered how it would translate acoustically…the answer was not that well. Their recorded songs were better and I didn’t really like them that much, so, for me their set was a bit boring and didn’t really hold my interest…
Van Coke Kartel don’t really seem to know the meaning of the word ‘acoustic’, something that they joked about after 2 or 3 songs with Mnr Van Coke as the only one using an acoustic guitar. They did all go acoustic for a few numbers though, and were definitely acting more relaxed than they usually are (though bassist Wynand’s struggle to keep his feet rooted to the ground was palpable – he gave in eventually with one of his signature high kicks near the end of their set).
While I prefer them non-acoustic, I always enjoy watching VCK, and actually thought their ‘acoustic’ version of Voor Ons Stof Word rivaled the recorded one, something I was really not expecting.
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Van Coke Kartel on Facebook
Stonecollar on Facebook