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Coastal Fire Dept.

Coastal Fire Dept.

Friday 25 March 2022

Coastal Fire Dept.

Friday 25 March 2022

In his latest live music review, local music enthusiast and drummer Baz Brehaut was at The Vault to review Coastal Fire Dept.

The Vault was its usual thriving self last Saturday.

Over the course of an evening, it morphs from a fast food base station, sending out various packages into the dark night, to a live music venue giving a platform to the accomplished performer and to those who want to test the water during one of its many open mic nights.

I found myself watching the tide of people slowly turn, from the plain hungry to those with a more veracious musical appetite.

I’d been keen to see Coastal Fire Dept. (CFD) play for a while. I’d read a number of positive reviews and from what I’d seen online the band weren’t likely to disappoint. They are astute users of social media, their Facebook page is more than active, they promote what they do well and its content is kept current.

The video for Gun, for example, is a low budget production. It's not pretentious, it's honest, and it conveys brilliantly the attitude and the sense of the band - they are in it for the music. And if they have to roll up their sleeves and literally act up, they will.

The band have a vibe for which there is probably not an adequate word in English, but fortunately there is in Scottish. The word is ‘gallus’ - meaning arrogant, with a swagger, self assured, and on stage they have that look. That’s a compliment by the way. 


Pictured: Coastal Fire Dept. playing at The Vault.

The gig was well attended at The Vault by a mixture of fans, regulars, those like me keen to see CFD, and the curious.

If their set list can be relied on then they opened with Icarus, a welcome assault on the senses.

The band got into their stride from the start - when you hear it you know it, post-punk, post-grunge, that Seattle sound, which is now 30-plus years old.

So if you’re going to attempt to do something new then you have to give it your own treatment. The band do that and do it well and with real commitment.

I couldn’t but help hear traces of The Pixies' Debaser and convinced myself at one point that Bob was launching into ‘I Bleed’, but he wasn’t and they didn’t. Monkey Gone To Heaven would have gone down a real treat.

The band have been around for the past eight years or so. They have been more active over the past four years with a more settled line up with frontman Ollie (guitar and vocals), Bob (guitar and vocals), Saad (bass) and Ozzy (drums).

Ozzy never missed a beat despite looking like he was sat in the baggage reclaim department at Heathrow. I felt for him as he was lost behind an amp cabinet and a drum screen. That said, the band are tight enough that occasional eye contact was all they needed to hold the sound and timing together.


Pictured: Baz Brehaut writes that Coastal Fire Dept. "believe in what they do and it's that which gives them the edge".

Ollie said: "Our last two gigs before The Vault were in London and we’ll be back there later in the year.

"Playing gigs with different bands in different venues has been a fantastic experience, not only in terms of visiting new places but playing for new crowds.

"The reception we’ve been getting in the UK has been great and we look forward to playing in London and a few other UK cities later in the year."

The band attracted some loyal supporters on the night who knew their material well. Don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand, Gun and xxxx The Scene were among the favourites along with Molly's Lips (cover Nirvana & The Vaselines).

At one point, Bob strayed from his shoe gazing and got down to play with a few effects to give the band, momentarily, a more ethereal feel.

The band tag themselves as 90s grunge but they are more than that. It’s a combination of their overall look and feel, their attitude, their approach and delivery. They believe in what they do and it’s that which gives them the edge.

If you’re looking for a way in to CFD’s music then treat yourself to What Do I on Spotify.

CFD were supported on the night by Callum Aitken, who ran through an acoustic set - some Billy Bragg mixed in with a few Nightmares' tunes. Hopefully Callum will find the time to take a much-deserved break from a hectic schedule over the past few weeks.

In other news, Yas - that wonderfully funky, Afrobeat, soul jazz collective - have put out a live session. Visit Magic Moustache Records to watch the full 20-minute set.

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