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Coast Arcade - Gig Review: Coast Arcade @ Big Fan, Auckland - 27/05/2023

29 May 2023 // A review by Cuillin Hearty

Heading into Auckland's freshest venue, Big Fan, there’s an electrifying buzz in the air ahead of a night of celebrating the release of Coast Arcade's debut EP Next to Me. The show is sold out, and it boasts one of the most diverse age ranges I've seen at a concert in a long time. You can already sense the profound influence this group is having and the strong community they've built around them.

Setting the tone for the night, the first opener is the indie rock band Bittersweet, a fresh and promising group that Bella Bavin (Lead Vox & Guitar, Coast Arcade) mentors. They may be newcomers, but they've already tapped into a unique sound. Then we are treated to the lively and funky Fool's Lagoon (pictured), a band that's definitely one to watch, captivating the crowd with their electric energy on stage while they blast out their own tracks as well as an unexpected cover of ABBA's Gimme Gimme.

Coast Arcade takes the stage just after 9, and the small and intimate venue is pulsating with excitement, fans packed from wall to wall, eagerly awaiting the main event. They waste no time and dive straight into it with Surf Club. The band's infectious energy on stage resonates with the crowd as everyone joyfully sings along. They seamlessly transition into yet another pop punk meets surf rock track, Peachy, before concluding their opening set with a powerful rendition of Green Day's Basket Case. This cover truly solidifies the 90's punk rock influence present throughout the band's original tracks.

Bella takes the mic to express her gratitude to the support acts and everyone in attendance for supporting their music, whilst also explaining how they recorded the EP right upstairs at Big Fan and how this is a full circle moment for them. She skillfully engages with the crowd, effortlessly holding them in the palm of her hand as she introduces the next song and insists that everyone pull out a flashlight and sway their arms. They roll into Salty Blonde, another Coastal anthem, not just in the band's name, but also in the songs they write. It's a track that demands to be played loudly with the windows down as you head towards the ocean.

The rest of the band is introduced, including brothers Chris Tims (Rhythm Guitar) and Nat Tims (Bass), along with Thom Boynton (Drums). Thom takes over the mic and announces that it's Bella's birthday tomorrow. In a heart-warming moment, the entire crowd joins in singing 'Happy Birthday' to her.

Memories is up next, a slightly slower tempo than the previous songs, yet still maintaining the band's infectious energy. It showcases the group's talent and passion through instrumental breakdowns and an overall sense of fun on stage. By this point, the crowd has surged forward, squeezing up against the front of the stage. The venue is filled with people swaying and bopping along as the familiar opening of Tattoo kicks in, prompting jumps and enthusiastic sing-alongs. The room is brimming with energy and support from every corner. In honour of NZ Music Month, the band treats the audience to a fresh and enjoyable cover of Elemeno P's Verona. They engage in another conversation with the crowd, addressing the unfortunate incident of Bella's guitar being stolen earlier in the week, which elicits boos from the entire audience. However, this story has a happy ending as the guitar was found just days later, thanks to the Avondale Police. Bella dedicates the next song, Highest Heights, a fan favourite with 60K streams on Spotify this week, It serves as a perfect showcase of Coast Arcade's sound and why they are making such a significant impact.

After a little band powwow, they decide to go off the cusp and play an unplanned song, Moment With Me. They ask for luck, but they don't need it. Then they state that their 'last song' will be Next To Me, the lead song from their latest EP. The crowd Awwwrs as the song kicks off with fast drums, loud guitar, and an alluring vocal hook. The fans are already singing along, and it has only been out for a week.

The classic 'one more song' chant begins as the band leaves the stage, but it doesn't take long for them to return. Bella charms the crowd, saying, "Guys, this is so unexpected. It's not like there are two more songs on the set list. We're just going to have to improvise." First up is a cover of Kilby Girl by The Backstreet Lovers. Before getting into it, they state, "We feel like we should have written this song," and I can't say I disagree. They truly own the track. Finally, they wrap up the night with an unreleased track, Kiss Like This. After the set they head out to the crowd, thanking people and signing caps.

You can feel the love of nostalgia in this next wave of music lovers and artists, not only in their fashion but in the sound they're producing. With hints of 00's grunge and punk rock, Coast Arcade's sound and energy are set to be one for the ages. With what I can only imagine is a busy summer season ahead of them, add this group to your watch list and make sure you check them out.

Photo Credit: Joe Photography
Coast Arcade Gallery
Fool's Lagoon Gallery
Bittersweet Gallery


About Coast Arcade

Indie Rock Pop up-and-comers Coast Arcade have made quite an impact in their breakout year; opening for Aussie legends Bootleg Rascals and The Grogans as well as Kiwi icons The Beths and Princess Chelsea. 2022 saw them secure a spot on the Spring City festival line-up alongside huge international acts Groove Armada, Zane Lowe, and Ladyhawke as well as the iconic Rhythm and Vines festival line-up. They also released their infectious debut single, Tattoo, which reached no.11 on the Official Hot NZ Singles chart and was playlisted on MTV Upload.

Formed in high school in early 2021, Coast Arcade are fast becoming regulars in New Zealand's music scene. The band plays to a strong following at many of Tamaki Makaurau's most iconic live music venues.

Coast Arcade describe their sound as Indie Pop Rock with twists of Surf and Punk. This combination of genres crafts their energetic and fun summer sound. Bella Bavin (Rafflyn) fronts the band with strong kiwi vocals and cheeky lead guitar. Brothers Chris and Nate Tims follow with tasty riffs and an energetic dynamic on Rhythm Guitar and Bass, respectively. Thom Boynton pulls it together with his driving drums and punk-infused backing vocals.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Coast Arcade


Next To Me
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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