Coast Modern,They're "No Ankle Biters"
By Cory Weaver
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Friday night at The Firebird started out weird. Some kind of karaoke talent show starring college freshmen made the vibe just as unseasonably cold inside as it was outside.
After setting the opener and headliner back 25 minutes, the night started to warm up with the Minneapolis-based quartet, the Bad Bad Hats, who were last in town opening for the Front Bottoms at the Pageant in October.
By the time the Bad Bad Hats left the stage, the Firebird was near capacity, and the place had worked up a good sweat—eagerly awaiting the boogie-boarding, sand-in-between-your-toes sounds of Coast Modern.
Lead vocalist Coleman Trapp grabbed his black flip-flops and took the stage shortly after Luke Atlas (guitar and founding member) and the rest of the band. Opening the set with “Tiny Umbrella” off of their 2017 self-titled album, Trapp and Atlas didn’t hesitate to start bouncing around the stage.
Battling a bad bass hook-up issue for the first five songs, drummer Steph Barker picked up the slack and was mesmerizing behind the drums—comparable to Lenny Kravitz’s drum maiden, Cindy Blackman (and she has the hair to compare to).
Entrancing the crowd with their upbeat, poppy, retro-beachy sound, they appropriately squeezed in a cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel” between two of their bigger hits from 2016, “Animals” and “Guru.”
After fixing the bass issue, the band popped off sexy rhythm-heavy “Pockets Full of No,” changing the ambiance into a proper groovy mid-’90s, head-bopping, body-swaying vibe, reminiscent of a 311 show when Sugar Ray opened for them. Although, the guys admittedly draw influence from The Beatles, T. Rex and Weezer, it’s obvious that Coast Modern derives a lot from the dance-y, rap/rock hysteria from the mid to late ’90s.
Coast Modern saved “Hollow Life” for the end of the set and didn’t disappoint. “Hollow Life” was their first single, released in 2016, and what drew attention from labels like +1 Records. Like most of their songs, it’s back-track sample heavy and they pull it off live—as good as, if not better than, the recording.
One other notable moment: During the most hyped-up song of the evening (which was “Hollow Life”) a fan decided to take the stage to talk to Trapp, stopping the show. “Who are you?” Trapp inquired. Turns out, the fan just wanted to stage dive. The fan did, narrowly missing the dropped ceiling, and crowd surfed for all of two seconds. Trapp immediately went back to “Hollow Life” and, after finishing the tune, commented, “It’d be funny if he were lying there (on the floor).” And it would have been.
Finishing off the night was the encore, another cover, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin—sung in a duet with guitarist Atlas and drummer Barker.
Coast Modern is a lot of fun and they're keeping the rap/reggae/rock movement afloat, embellishing it just a bit with an addition of their brand of synth-pop. When Coast Modern coasts into St. Louis in the future, expect them to be at The Firebird’s sister venue, The Ready Room or at Delmar Hall.