Warehouse One celebrates subculture, addresses creativity and challenges traditional obstructions
In today’s musical climate, where everyone who’s anyone flaunts an aspirational digital music library and every man and their dog has a high-street Nirvana t-shirt, it could be easy to lose sight of what’s true and authentic in the creative sphere. With supply and demand, live music advocates readily pay blisteringly absurd ticket prices and don’t so much as flinch at the excessive fees that come hand in hand. That’s just the way it is, we hear you cry.
Well, this month reintroduced the timeless secret, underground live music experience in Coventry. As the first in a sequence of events, co-owned by Native Magazine and Eleven Studios, Warehouse One worked to celebrate subculture, address creativity and challenge these obstructions. Locally, at least. Coventry may not be music capital “Madchester” or alternative haven London, but we as a city are opening our eyes to the plethora of dirty, down-low musical offerings of our time and space.
The evening began with Free Galaxy, a moniker which everyone probably hoped was a mystical nod towards the universe, but is rumoured to be down to a generous vending machine. This only added to the fourpiece’s boyish charm as they ran through a grungy set peppered with pop punk nuances. The real treat was the delicate, fortuitous harmony shared by singers Ciaran O’Sullivan and Luke Osmond, which teamed with the impressive, adventurous drums made magic. A tentative start only seemed to amplify Leave It, an antique with a progressive chorus, punky bass and seething attitude.
New track Treadmill, which is set for release next month, shone as perhaps the band’s most accomplished-sounding song. An emphatic and memorable cover of Freddy Krueger, originally by alt-rockers Reuben, introduced an insight into musical influences. Although the band don’t yet seem to be seasoned performers, their delivery was a refreshing, angsty slap to make way for what was to come.
Candid, another local fourpiece, brought a cultivated confidence with their indie rock smorgasbord. It’s almost as though a foetal Catfish and the Bottlemen donned the Warehouse stage, as lead singer Rob Latimer embodied a playful yet accomplished presence. The well-oiled machine pumped out winning tracks Rumours, an oldie, and Breathless – their newest, Smiths-like anthem. Noticeably, it wouldn’t be entirely to the lads’ detriment to experiment further with the rawness that live music can ultimately bring, as “very polished” isn’t always the most complimentary signet of a band. Although, as a band with their fingers in all the pies, gigging relentlessly, it’s no surprise that their music sounded professional this evening. The band were an esteemed choice of act, especially betwixt the other two, as they easily attracted the biggest crowd – loyal friends busted out lyrics and jostled around to their heavenly set. If any two local bands were fit to open a show of this calibre, it’s promising, young stars Free Galaxy and Candid.
Mara Falls always promise an electric show – not only with their rough and ready tales of love and loss, but their sense of adventure and power onstage. A mesmerising lightshow by lead singer Peter Black debuted at Warehouse One, mirroring drummer Peter Szots’ dominating percussion. There were minor technical hitches, but this only added to the saturnine mystique of an underground event.
Mara Falls’ latest single Thanks to You boasted a scalding chorus and their ever recognisable electronic element. Fan favourites Getaway and One for the Road indulged long-term advocates of the band, as they flirted with catchy rock riffs and that signature growl. The bijou of the set, though, was Want It All, which began modestly before building to a liberating, effusive stop-start chorus. Fellow unrecorded tracks Feed Me and Hooks offered catchy melodies, while Lola Rose delivered driving basslines. Although the flawless musician was the only female in the evening’s musical line-up, a small army of women contributed to its success and artistry – namely Rhiannon, known as @tschock_tschock on social media, who supplied a captivating montage of Coventry-based visuals to amplify the atmosphere. Another of the evening’s inaugurations was new guitarist Joe Burditt, who connected dots that we didn’t even realise were once unconnected. The addition of a fourth member freed up some responsibility, allowing the band to unleash the dexterous gravitational pull they possess.
The event, which was open only to those who had previously registered interest, prospered wildly for something built from nothing. Everyone somehow had a hand in its victory, and although there were hiccups in places, a celebration of underground music can only be seasoned and nourished by such issues. Each of the three bands could learn something from one another, which only adds to what these nights were created for. Warehouse One may be just the beginning, but we cannot wait to see what’s next.