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The Dust Coda

Artist: The Dust Coda

Venue: Manchester, The Deaf Institute

Date: 24 October 2023


"There was no denying that the four-piece were very tight and all the songs played were reproduced faithfully. John Drake has a fantastic voice and this was highlighted to perfection during his solo rendition of ‘The Streets’."

 
concert

I’m not sure how long it has been a live music venue, but in all my recent years attending gigs in Manchester I have never been to The Deaf Institute. It is an old building dating back to the mid/late 19th century and, on entering the main room, was reminded (for those who can remember) of the BBC entertainment programme called ‘The Good Old Days’ from the 1970s. It is compact, with a bar to one side, merchandise on the other and seating (important for the more mature crowds) to the rear. The Dust Coda are something of a recent discovery, so having heard good things about their shows, it was a chance to see them in intimate surroundings. The most recent ‘Loco Paradise’ album, released earlier in 2023, is regarded as the best of the band’s three so far. I actually like them all, so was really looking forward to seeing how the songs took shape in the live environment.


When the four band members made a somewhat low-key entrance to the small stage, at around 8.45pm, the attendance was very healthy and the reception was enthusiastic to say the least. Opening with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise’ was something of a surprise, as (not having seen the set-list from previous shows on the tour) I was fully expecting the more up-tempo and in-your-face ‘Road To Hell’. There was no denying that the four-piece were very tight and all the songs played were reproduced faithfully. John Drake has a fantastic voice and this was highlighted to perfection during his solo rendition of ‘The Streets’.


What I found disappointing was the lack of energy or real stage presence. It was after three songs before Drake actually said anything and that was just to introduce the next song. These days when I go out, I want a proper show. I want the songs to have real identity and I also want to see the artists adding to that identity. The Dust Coda (completed by Adam Mackie on guitar, Scott Miller on drums and Tony Ho on bass) didn’t really do that for me. As the set progressed, as good as everything sounded, there was nothing visual to hold it all together. I like to see everyone a bit more animated. The mid-tempo nature of songs such as ‘Love Sick’, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and ‘On Fire’ saw me losing interest and there were a number of people around me who were also becoming restless. The friend I was with was of a similar opinion, so at least I wasn’t in a minority in that respect.


I could have just stayed at home and listened to the albums and got the same result. That is not to say that the crowd was not very appreciative, as every song got a fantastic reception. Having witnessed some very high-energy performances at shows in recent months, maybe I was expecting too much. If I caught the band on an off night then fair enough. If this is how a typical Dust Coda live show goes then it is not really for me. I am quite happy to keep buying the albums, but I will look elsewhere for my live fix. Sorry guys, it’s just this person’s view and it was clear that many in attendance were more than happy.

 

Review: Dave Bott

 

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