Music critic Katie Leigh-Lancaster is impressed by Coat of Many’s infectious debut at Birmingham’s O2 Institute
Fusing bluesy riffs with reggae beats, the eclectic sound of Coat of Many resists labels. The Kidderminster-based five-piece made their headline debut at Birmingham’s O2 Institute, having joined E.L.O’s Bev Bevan on tour last year to support his new band, Quill. Coat of Many’s intimate Birmingham gig gears up to the release of their debut single, ‘I and I’, this Autumn.
Breezy track ‘Summer Days’ marked a punchy opening to the set, flaunting the band’s knack for feel-good hooks from the offset. Lead singer Theone’s soulful vocals floated above the rockier riffs of the track, showcasing the stylistic quirks of each band member. Pulsing with energy, original track ‘I and I’ provided the set’s highlight. Capturing an infectious sunniness, the laid-back rhythm teetered on reggae territory, maintaining a jazzy undertone in the track’s dynamic chorus.
The band’s high-energy set oscillated between self-penned tracks and covers, with their rendition of Tom Misch’s ‘It Runs Through Me’ proving a crowd favourite. The eclectic set list flaunted the band’s broad range of musical inspirations – ‘a mixture of modern and old music including Queen, Oasis, Stevie Wonder and Smashing Pumpkins, to name a few’, says bassist Ben Gillman. Toots & The Maytals’ ska hit ‘54-46 (That’s My Number)’ got a soulful reworking halfway into the set, maintaining all the vibrancy of the original. Wrapping up an energetic set, the band played out with their rendition of ‘I Shot The Sheriff’. This cover bordered somewhere between the rocksteady rhythm of Bob Marley’s original and the bluesy undertones of Eric Clapton’s 1974 reworking.
With the recording of their debut single in the works, what does the rest of 2018 hold for the band? ‘Right now we’re focused on gigging and getting out to as many people as possible’, says Ben. ‘I think it’s hard to break the mould of being a ‘Kidderminster-based band’ because we are much more than that. I can’t wait to get a track finished and released for the public to listen to and hopefully enjoy’.
Coat of Many’s debut single ‘I and I’ is set for release in September.