Sixty Million Postcards, Bournemouth

It’s a balmy Wednesday evening in Bournemouth and there is an abundance of live music around the area to choose from this evening. I opt for the eagerly anticipated and rescheduled gig of rising stars Coach Party. This gig was postponed due to the pandemic, but thankfully ticketholders have returned in decent numbers. Two local supports are in tow to warm us up for the main event, starting with local boys Raygo Bloom. This pairing relies on their acoustic-driven guitar sound and accompanying harmonies and delivers simple songs with smiles on their faces. One can see they have pulled a good section of this crowd, such is the warmth shown to them after each song. They offer a sweet, Summery vibe which just about drowns the chatter in the room – (this is becoming my new pet hate at gigs, just show the band some respect – you can talk all you like in the interval!!). Ok, so these guys are a modern version of 1950’s legends The Everly Brothers, and have chemistry you only get with Brothers in bands. While no particular song stood out (for me), I can see them growing their audience while honing their craft – definitely one’s to watch.

Raygo Bloom
Raygo Bloom 1234

Bournemouth youngsters Happy Cry are up next, with their lo-fi Indie feel. Initially, I’m reminded of a glam Teenage Fanclub, but that view changes through the set as we witness a mish-mish of styles and influences. Indeed second song “Bluesy Tune” in name alone shows a different dimension. Jacob (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) has great vocal range, despite straining at moments during their set. However, George (Lead Guitar) is the star performer with his guitar picking intricacies, noodling, and occasional chimes. His stage presence is somewhat understated, which belies his obvious talent. An angst-heavy cover of Tears For Fears “Mad World” comes as a surprise to most, but they more than put their stamp on it with Jacob’s vocal layering. His between-song banter would appear to mask a nervousness that is misplaced, these guys have talent and a musical offering that even I would struggle to categorise. They depart us on “Need It” and I for one shall keep an eye on this band going forward.

Happy Cry
Happy Cry 1234

Coach Party has had a slow, steady rise since being on every scribe’s lips as “one’s to watch”, way back as far as 2019. Throw in a two-year Lockdown which would’ve tested the hardiest of bands and they have thankfully come through it. There’s the small matter of being personally invited by Indochine to support them in at the Stade de France in Paris to a crowd of 97,000 plus, before returning for an (almost) hometown show across the water from their native Isle of Wight. They take to the stage with little fuss and open with “Oh Lola”, setting out their stall early. It’s loud and bass-heavy, but maybe that’s the point?! They follow this with the brilliant “Crying Makes Me Tired” from the recent “After Party” EP. Jess (Lead Vocals/Bass) is in fine voice, while Steph (Guitar/Backing Vocals) adopts a more background stance. Early set highlight “Everybody Hates Me” is immense as they begin to hit their stride. Jess asks the audience about hay fever levels and her “inner itchiness”, which gains a few wry smiles and comments. It’s all in jest as she banters with us on occasions during the set. “I’m Sad” follows, but this crowd is anything but. Jess’s vocal on the slower numbers reminds me of Tanya Donnely (Belly/Throwing Muses) but other observers will make the more obvious “Wolf Alice” comparison.

“Weird Me Out” shows their Grungier side, as they elevate their sound to the next level. Steph moves nearer the front of the stage, growing in confidence with every song. Early single “Bleach” drops the tempo further while “3 Kisses” appears to be more of a personal song. I’m guessing “Shit TV” was written about idle touring hours in between the live shows, or I could be totally mistaken – either way it has a wonderful urgency throughout. “Really OK On My Own” once again keeps in the personal ballpark, coming alive during the choruses – “Don’t Wanna Be Alone” being a somewhat poignant yet catchy line. On “Nothing Is Real” we hear Jess’s wonderful layered vocals throughout as the guitars wind around her vocal tones. They save the best ’til last with three bangers, starting with the utterly catchy “Breakdown” which morphs seamlessly into “FLAG (Feel Like a Girl)” – one can see where those Wolf Alice comparisons come from now. They depart us on “Can’t Talk, Won’t”, the lead track from recent EP “After Party”. A two-girl mini-moshpit erupts at the front as Jess strains every sinew into her vocal, and that people was that.

Coach Party
Coach Party 123456

It is a rare feat in itself that I should be so enthused in a fairly new band (to me), but Coach Party has all the ingredients and elements of a band headed for a rising trajectory. They have the songs, the stage presence, the work ethic, and a humbleness no doubt garnered from their base. The Isle of Wight has recently thrown up a rich abundance of talent of late; and while I won’t resort to mentioning another IOW band enjoying growing popularity, Coach Party has everything in place. It’s their time so watch this space…

I finally would like to give a big shout out to the “We Broke Free” promotions team (and in particular “Tor da Force”) who continue to pursue and put on gigs by the best and most up and coming bands the scene has to offer. Now seemingly out of Lockdown it is time to support our Grassroots venues (and bands) – too many venues are falling by the wayside in the current climate, let’s make sure Sixty Million Postcards does not become another statistic on that list.

Set Lists
Coach Party
Oh Lola
Crying Makes Me Tired
Everybody Hates Me
I’m Sad
Weird Me Out
3 Kisses
Shit TV
Really OK On My Own
Nothing Is Real
Flag (Feel Like A Girl)
Can’t Talk, Won’t

Happy Cry
Wall of Sound
Bluesy Tune
Mad World (Tears For Fears Cover)
Wasting Light
Need it

Raygo Bloom
Always The Way
Save My Soul
Rebel on the Road
All the Love That You Need
I’ll See You There
Firework (Instrumental)
Maybe It’s You



Words by Ross Ferrone
Media & Pictures by David Chinery (Chinners)

Coach Party