Wirral’s Skeleton Coast festival has got better and better year in, year out. After last year’s hugely memorable and jubilant homecoming from Wirral legends The Coral at Leasowe Castle. The question 2019’s edition had to answer and the challenge for organisers was – how do you follow that?
The answer and 2019 headliner – fellow Wirral son, “The Wirral Riddler” Miles Kane, coming home for an intimate show in support of his new album Coup De Grace. Joining Kane was several of his favourite bands and the cream of the crop from Merseyside and beyond. All taking place across three stages, the main EVOL stage, a more mellow stage in the chapel space and a new stage upstairs in a room with a low ceiling that acts as a sort of basement in the sky.
Our day began with Tim Burgess endorsed, Average Sex. A fantastic live band, who mix infectious riffs with lead Laetitia Bocquet’s energy and their collective tightness to deliver a wicked set.
Next, a first venture upstairs for two solid sets – the hit after hit power-pop of Hushtones – and the genre-bending brilliance of Monks.
An EVOL stage double-dose followed – first up Life At The Arcade once again proved themselves as one of the leaders of Liverpool’s constantly growing indie scene. Their latest single Antidote is proving to be a major live force and their set is stronger than ever. The Wirral crowd absolutely loved every minute.
Birmingham’s Cut Glass Kings followed with their moody fuzz-driven rock ‘n’ roll, sending you into an instant foot-tap frenzy.
Clear crowd favourites, mad Scots The Snuts were next on the main stage – bringing madness, ferocity and swagger aplenty. Special shout for their hilarious stage patter and All Your Friends which is a massive tune.
Elsewhere a Skeketon Key Records double-dose as The Sundowners and later Marvin Powell took to the Chapel stage. It was 3 of 5 members for The Sundowners with co-leads Niamh Rowe and Fiona Skelly joined by bassist Tim Cunningham for a stunning set of tunes from their two albums and a cover or two, whilst Powell showcased a stunning array of tracks from his new album out next week.
Sandwiched in-between them was Belfast songwriter Lucy Gaffney – currently recording at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios with The Coral’s James Skelly – delivered a breathtaking set, teaming subtle guitars with lush, warm vocals. She’s off on tour with Bill Ryder-Jones soon, check her out and keep an eye out for new tunes soon.
Upstairs, Cardiff’s fantastic Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – who support The Mysterines at Jimmy’s Liverpool for EVOL in December – delivered a rip-roaring and sweaty set.
Dream Wife played EVOL’s Festevol Gardens all-dayer in Liverpool back in 2017 so it was no surprise to see them own the main stage here. The crowd were hot for their set, singing and dancing along to hits from their debut album, in particular the utterly amazing FUU. I spy with my little eye bad bitches, Dream Wife for life.
Arguably the two most exciting bands on Merseyside – Red Rum Club and The Mysterines led up to Miles Kane’s homecoming – pretty apt really.
It was a sing-a-long frenzy downstairs with a rammed main stage crowd loving every minute of Red Rum Club’s set, featuring; big riffs, big trumpets and big tunes from their sublime debut album Matador. They bring such energy to any venue they play and could well be Liverpool’s next big band and deservedly so. Red-hot.
Straight after upstairs a storm was brewing as the hottest band on Merseyside right now The Mysterines took to the stage, playing their huge new Take Control [EP] to a room at full capacity with tonnes more locked out.
Collectively they make epic noise to cave the walls in and lead Lia Metcalfe’s voice can take the roof off singlehandedly. From the minute you first see this band live, you know, they’re the real deal. Merseyside is fast catching on and the buzz is now spreading nationally and rightly so. They’re a truly exciting, wonderful, wonderful band.
At the time of writing their December home headline at Jimmy’s Liverpool is very close to selling out but if you can grab tickets, do it…quickly.
Every band and every artist had delivered and there was still headliner Miles Kane to come…
Without further ado Kane took to the stage to a rapturous ovation and fired straight into his set, hitting Skeleton Coast with a few quickfire belters from his fantastic latest record Coup De Grace. The sweaty and frenetic set never dropped off, building through; groovy hit Coup De Grace, the loud and proud Don’t Forget Who You Are, infectious newbie Can You See Me Now and new single Blame It On The Summertime, right to a red-hot conclusion with old favourite Come Closer sung to the rooftops long after Kane had left the stage. A beautiful and fitting close.
Until next year, Skeleton Coast.