The Coalition, Brighton – 27th October 2012

There is little doubt the state of British independent music is slowly changing for the better, but in order to reinforce this upturn and to prevent it from becoming a momentary blip carried away by the fickle winds of change, what is really needed is for one of our up and coming, dynamic bands to cement themselves as giants of the age. This is not to say they have to become mainstream and dull, or even worse to chase chart success and transient fame, but if one of them could capture the imagination of a generation in the same way as bands such as The Cure did in the past and start to build an enduring legacy, then the war will become so much easier to wage. There are a few contenders for this crown, and there is no reason why more than one may not achieve this feat, but when all is weighed in the balance, you may just find that Toy will be the ones to succeed.

Originally scheduled for the Green Door Store and quickly sold out, this gig was transferred to the larger Coalition on the seafront to enable more people to attend, and even then the venue was rammed right up to the odd bits of tree sellotaped to the ceiling. The omens were not auspicious; the sound when support act Charlie Boyer & the Voyeurs took to the stage was appalling with the high end distorting horribly, though fears on that score were soon laid to rest when Toy’s opening bars rumbled out of the PA as smooth as you like. Let’s face it, Toy don’t trouble the upper register very much as they parade their worm’s eye view of the world and thankfully none of their power or their subtlety was lost to incomplete engineering works.

As suits contemporary tastes, and always comes across as a nice touch, the main protagonists stood in line at the front of the stage, giving us guitar, guitar and vocals, bass, keyboards, with poor old Charlie Salvidge left behind to fend for himself on drums. The stage at the Coalition isn’t huge, or high, with roadside barriers serving to separate the band from the punters, though these days audiences are generally tame enough to be controlled by two pencils and a rubber band. Not so tonight. Every time the band stepped up a gear and set off on another undulating underground journey the audience burst into life, crashing around as if passengers on that rumbling ride. Fittingly, the light panel behind the band led us through a journey of unending tunnels, whilst occasionally at brief stops displaying the banner ‘Toy’. No alighting here if you know what’s good for you.

Toy manage to rock hard yet are still able to transfix with moments of real grace. Behind the obvious gallons of shampoo, make-up and Alejandra Diez’s sequined jacket, there is both real talent and a fierce determination. Toy don’t go for histrionics, but when Tom Dougall sings in his measured, mild way, his face is often set with purpose. And it’s clear the audience believes. Ending with the terrific ‘Motoring’ and ‘Kopter’ the band depart, not to return, and the audience hits the Brighton streets just before ten. They leave knowing that Toy are happening, and may just happen to be something very important indeed.


More Live Reviews

Toy Album Review


toy ticket
Isolation on Facebook. Like us.