The mood before Corella’s set on Saturday is ambivalent at best. They are performing in the middle of a 3-band lineup; a Manchester band placed in-between two local bands both with large followings here in Edinburgh.
This skepticism from the crowd is emphasized by the fact that first band, Betty and the Bass, a small bluesy rock outfit, have just lit up the Voodoo Rooms. Corella starts playing to the small crowd- most of which are standing near the back. One might expect them to respond negatively to this initial lack of enthusiasm, especially after sold-out gigs throughout England, but they are surprisingly upbeat.
Live, the band’s pop-influenced indie-rock music becomes more rowdy and guitar-focused, letting the musical talent of the band members stand out. They energetically explore the instrumental parts of their songs, and their funky guitars and wild drumming make even the most cynical audience members want to dance.
In recordings, the vocals and pop melodies is what makes Corella’s songs stand out, and this holds true during their live show as well. A good example of their balance between energy and skillful songwriting is in their performance of ‘Waterfall’, their first single. The lyrics and the accompanying vocals are bubbly and uplifting, and the song performed by a different band could easily be made into a pop hit. Instead, Corella bring the guitar solo towards the end of the song into the forefront, letting the band’s gritty rock influences shine through. The lead singer, Joel, sings the lyrics with such intense passion and energy that it brings even more depth to the song.
What stands out more than the dynamic performance is that the band are engaging, kind, and most significantly, humble. At least three times towards the end of the set, Joel encourages the crowd to come talk to them about their music in the bar next door to the performance space. Many times more, he thanks the audience for being there and listening to their music.
It is important to note that Corella has every reason to be cocky. Their most recent single, ‘Barcelona Girl’, has been featured on Spotify’s “Indie Roadtrip” and “The Indie List” playlists and has over 300,000 plays on Spotify as of the writing of this review. They have achieved this without a full EP or even graduating from university, and somehow, in front of a small and unfamiliar audience, they put on an infectious live show. It will be exciting to see what they do next.