“Art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time”, Jean-Michel Basquiat famously once advanced. Sometimes, you want to wallow in your own nostalgia, fury, and anger. Sometimes, you want to rage against the passing of time and failed relationships, in the hope that the rage will turn into peace of mind. On September 30th at Manchester’s Canvas, both Isle of Wight four-piece Coach Party and Stockholm outfit Girl Scout displayed this emotional process in their own beautifully unique ways.
First up was singer-songwriter Fiona-Lee, hailing from Yorkshire and setting up the tone of the evening with her angsty and vulnerable music. Her solo set was delivered with searing clarity to the more-punctual punters. After a short break, Girl Scout took to the stage with a serious, deadpan gaze as they delivered loose guitar lines and vivid lyrics. A jazz singer in a previous life, Frontwoman Emma Jansson – with a cargo pants/tank top combination straight out of the Fallowfield Campus – reinvents herself as the heart of Girl Scout. Both her lyricism and satisfying, pondering voice knit the band tightly together.
Jansson delivers musings with a sense of urgency but also a sense of resignation: the songs quietly, but efficiently, rage against the negatives in life, before always succumbing to themselves. An explosive finale of their most-streamed song ‘Do You Remember Sally Moore?’ saw Jansson discard the microphone stand and lead the band into a final kinetic and nostalgic catharsis. You could so easily get obsessed with Girl Scout: channeling the personality of Alvvays or Pip Blom, they’re a band that lives way past their stage time in your thoughts.
If Girl Scout are one side of the indie coin, with their straight-faced anecdotalism, then Coach Party are the other. There is nothing metaphorical about them, with their single ‘What’s The Point in Life’ repeating the mantra “We’re all gonna die, what’s the point in life?” with increased urgency as the song increasingly distorts. Their pop-punk aggression, frenetic energy, and explicitly cutting lyrics work together to create an extremely engaging spectacle.
The band, formerly known as Jeph, hails from the Isle of Wight. Their drummer, Guy Page, taught Rhian Teasdale of Wet Leg how to play the piano. Hot off the heels of their debut album KILLJOY, the band experimented with pace and different stage dynamics. Frontwoman Jess Eastwood has a double mic setup, one with obscene levels of distortion, and guitarist Joe Perry set up electronic introductions to newer songs. It’s not all race-to-the-end punk with Coach Party, with high points being fan favourite ‘Everybody Hates Me’ and the bulldozing set closer ‘Parasite’, which saw Eastwood maraud around the stage as a final act of defiance. Coach Party, much like Girl Scout, is a group you could easily become obsessed with, and will be lighting up rooms and festival tents across the world for years to come.
Music is how we decorate time. Next time you have an existential rage, get these bands as a soundtrack to ease the confusion and let the storm pass.
Coach Party are on tour until December 2nd. You can buy tickets here.