Underneath the Arches - Rock Night at The Arches
Kubla Khan / Chrissie Dux / Paul Quinn / Dept of Misinformation, The Arches Venue, 16 June 2023
Review by David Court
The Arches, secreted away in an industrial estate in Spon End, is one of our cities best live music venues. Renowned for typically hosting tribute acts, this hidden treasure has seen some of Coventry’s brightest and best hit the tiny stage – and on a balmy Friday evening on June 16, was host to an eclectic selection of excellent local acts.
The evening opens with Kubla Khan, slightly ahead of schedule, but providing a bombastic opening for the night. They’re without their usual bass player, but his stand in is more than adequate. This is polished and energetic shameless rock and roll, and Kubla Khan are on fine form. Their lead singer is a mere flat cap away from achieving full enlightenment and morphing into AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, but that’s fully intended as a compliment. They’ve a great sound and – despite how early their set was in the evening – enthusiastic crowds were starting to gather, and Kubla Khan’s love and passion for their music is palpable. This darkened room in the Arches is custom built for Rock, and Kubla Khan seem right at home.
Rightfully, Chrissie has been making increasing waves in local music. She’s a singer of incredible talent and depth – able to belt the more powerful numbers out and make it look easy, but also armed with a voice of engaging frailty, adding a mesmerising vulnerability to her more intimate songs. She sings of heartbreak and the human condition, and you find yourself hanging off every word. The highlight of an excellent set is a live performance of 'The Liar and the Fool', her brilliant new single that’s doing incredibly well on local radio – it’s a brilliant showcase of both her songwriting and vocal talent, and I eagerly await Chrissie’s forthcoming album.
Paul is a familiar and welcome face on the Coventry Music Scene, a member of excellent local band, 'The Loaded' since 2007. We’re presented with a stripped down set this evening, a poignant and intimate reminder of the power of the man’s voice and songwriting talent. Venues such as this are perfect for talents such as those of Paul, with his ability to enthral a room without his voice, original material and distinctive sound getting lost in it. I know there had been rescheduling issues on the evening, but with hindsight the coupling of Chrissie and Paul turned out to be a perfect combination – a welcome slice of acoustic elegance sandwiched between two raucous – and very different – high energy acts.
Dept of Misinformation
This fun four piece are a perfect way to top off an evening of great music, with an irresistible blend of pop, rock, and third-wave Ska. Nick’s an energetic and natural entertainer, fronting a band who are no strangers to a song with an infectious hook. They’re the kind of band who are as impossible to dislike as they were irresistible to dance – or at least tap a toe – to. This added to free merchandise – in this case, badges – are more than enough to win over this cynical reviewer. I can (ironically, given the band’s name) vouch with some accuracy that Dept of Misinformation are a band I’ll be looking out for again.
Local boy, music promoter, and all round good egg Joe Colombi has set up a fundraiser to save the venue – like a great many similar sites, it’s still suffering the post-effects from the pandemic. It’d be a genuine shame were it to close – it’s been an important place for a great many bands, local and afar. And, as tonight clearly proved, the local music scene is alive and well and needs all our support. We’re living in troubled times and to have music as an outlet – of comfort, reassurance, and protest – is essential.