Coral Thief at Herman's Hideaway
I had been contacted by Dave Baty from Coral Thief a few times to come and check out a live show. “You won’t be disappointed”, he promised. Do you have any idea how often I hear that? I try to pick my shows wisely. I don’t like publicly slamming anyone and I completely hate it when I have to write a bad review. So I was a little cautious about going to see a band that I had never heard of. Ultimately I’m glad I did.
Dave Baty from Coral Thief at Herman's Hideaway. Photo by Paul Edmisson
No offense to Dave, but he kind of looks like a skate punk, so I was a little skeptical when he told me they are reggae oriented. Dave looks like he would be more at home singing in a punk pop band rather than anything even closely related to reggae. I should know this by now, but never judge a book by it’s cover.
Dave can sing. He’s not the worlds best singer, but he can sing very well. He has the pipes needed to sing in a band like Coral Thief or any other band if needed. Dave can get a growl into his voice, which he uses often to rough up his softer almost R&B style voice.
Coral Thief is definitely reggae oriented but not reggae per se. There were people there the night of the show that mentioned a similarity between Coral Thief and 311, but I see more of a similarity between Coral Thief and Sublime. The vocals are more along the lines of Sublime as are the rhythms which mix hip hop, reggae and rock, but the punk edge of Sublme is nowhere to be found. Coral Thief kind of has their own sound. As I said, they are not really reggae, but there are some definite reggae roots there.
Coral Thief is made up of five guys of which only three play instruments. Coral Thief is Dave Baty on Vocals, Jon Moir is the MC, Owen McDonald is on Bass, Chris Howells is on guitar, and Randy Delmont is the drummer. The bass and drum rhythms are decidedly reggae, but the guitar brings other music into play. Chris knows how to play. His playing is simple without a lot of leads, but he is spot on in his timing. He does play some lead guitar but it is little parts here and there. Mostly what he plays is a cross between a crisp lead and a flowing rhythm with emphasis on the rhythm. Watching Chris on stage is like watching an artist paint. He gets totally caught up in what he's doing and seems to play for himself, getting lost in the rhythm.
The only problem I had with their set that night was when Chris broke a string and had to change it in the middle of the set. I don’t know if he has another guitar he could use for situations like this, but it would be wise to have a back-up. I will say that Chris can change and tune a string faster than I have ever seen.
The MC touch is nice and brings a different flavor to an overcrowding population of reggae bands. It is one of the things that set them apart. The other is Dave’s voice. I would place his voice somewhere between R&B, reggae and top 40 rock.
In most of their songs the chorus is catchy and simple allowing people only a short amount of time before they catch on to the song and sing along. ‘The Remedy’ is one such song, catchy and keeping with current trends such as the recent explosion in marijuana licensing.
For only being together for a short amount of time Coral Thief is a band ready to leave it’s mark on the Denver music scene. They are polished, and play a tight set with well written, sometimes bouncy songs. Coral Thief now has a CD out, so if you get the chance to get one give it a listen. Me? I prefer their live show. That is not to say the CD is bad, it’s actually pretty good, but you don’t get the same vibe with the CD as you do watching this band live. I’m sure I will catch them around town again sometime soon, and to be honest with you, I can’t wait to get more familiar with their songs.
I don't want to make it sound like I was thrilled with everything they did. Was everything good? Yes, but there were songs that I appreciated more than others, and if a band can make you appreciate even one of their songs then they're doing something right.
So if you're ever in the mood to just chill and listen to some laid back music that gets your toes a-tappin, check out Coral Thief. You may just become a fan.
Coral Thief performing at Herman's Hideaway. All photos by Paul Edmisson.
All Photos Copyright © 2010 Interstatelive.com
Upcoming shows for Coral Thief
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