Country By The Coast is a unique festival in many ways, eschewing the tradition of topping the bill with established headliners, they’ve gone with a blend of up and coming talent, established live performers and also given slots to an array of local artists to make a 3 day bill strong and intriguing enough to get #TEAMw21 down to the sunny if somewhat gusty South coast. The set up is first rate, the Gaiety Bar, located on Southsea pier, plays host to the event, it’s a large ballroom with a wide, well lit stage, down one side are tables for the artists to sell their merchandise and down the other a large bar, the fourth wall is mainly made of glass and offers views out on to the sea, the beach and the Isle of Wight, it is a quite spectacular outlook for a festival.
The Festival opened with one of those local emerging talents mentioned earlier and there can be few on the bill at quite such an early stage in their career as The Peaches, three girls ages 16 – 18 entering the field of female trio's currently dominated in the UK by The Adelaides and Remember Monday. Now these girls may be young but they had a grasp of stage patter and confidence that was well beyond their years, and there are quite a few established acts that they could give lessons to in this respect. Their set was a mixture of well chosen covers supplemented with a number of self penned efforts, and the festival commenced with The Dixie Chicks “Cowboy Take Me Away”. Each Peach sings and plays guitar with Ruby in the middle doing the heavy lifting on guitar while the other Peaches ( Caitlin and Dixie ) taking the main leads on vocals. As with all trios their real strength is when the three come together to produce a powerful delivery that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. The first of their self penned songs was “Eyes Of Blue” and hinted at the promise that this group will one day deliver, with nice harmonising matching Caitlin against the other Peaches.
Another batch of covers saw “When You Say Nothing At All” open with Dixie singing, with all three coming together for the chorus. It was perhaps one of the pacier versions of the song we’ve ever heard, but any initial nerves soon started to dissipate and the harmonies between them got better and better as the set progressed. This was followed by “Jesus Take the Wheel” before the second of their self penned numbers, the first song indeed they ever wrote. The mic cut out slightly as they were announcing the song so I’ll go for “Give Me a Reason” as the title , it again sounded very promising if again perhaps a little rushed but who can blame them for being a little excited?.
A cover of the Sugarland / Taylor Swift song “Babe” saw Dixie really gaining confidence and her vocal delivery on this one was probably her best of the set. Proof of that stage craft came as they dedicated a song to a couple on their anniversary before launching into “I Will Always Love You” with an ease and a confidence that really impressed. The next song was the final of their own songs, their “angry one”, again the title somewhat lost but I’ll go with “Do You Think I Should?” which was really enjoyable and finished on the pithy line “Time heals everything, I’m still waiting”. With a final cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” which definitely saw more of them all singing at the same time and featured a nice guitar solo from Ruby, this was a great introduction to the The Peaches. Performing as a trio may seem deceptively easy but a lot of work goes into who sings what and when and one hopes that they have got a video of the performance and can look back and analyze which bits worked well and which may need a little refining.
What they have achieved so far is remarkable and it was great to see them stay and take the opportunity watch the other acts that followed and indeed return the following day for more. They are full of spirit and enthusiasm, don’t be surprised if we are not reviewing them again soon as they work their way up the ladder to success.