LIVE REVIEW | CORELLA – THEKLA, BRISTOL (12/05/24) By Ollie Hayman

Just before the start of a busy festival season, Corella played to a 400 – capacity Thekla on Wednesday night. The four-piece played not only songs from their new debut album ‘Once Upon A Weekend’, but old bangers such as ‘Monday’, ‘Puppets’ and ‘Waterfall’. 

The Manchester-based band released their debut album two weeks ago, peaked at rank 49 in the Official UK Album Charts, however came top 10 for Album Downloads and the Independent Albums chart. This tour marked the birth of the album, so to speak, a celebration of the start of what will for sure be a long and successful career for the quartet. 

Corella @ Thekla, Bristol (Ollie Hayman/Northern Exposure)

The night began with one of their older songs, ‘Puppets’. Fans who have known Corella for a while sang along, and newer fans who may not be familiar with the song still vibed along to every beat of it. This was followed by another one of their older songs, ‘Caught Up’, which had similar energy to the first. 

The upwards trajectory of Corella can be seen in the size of the venue they’ve been playing. Frontman Joel Smith stated at the gig that the last time they were in Bristol they played the 140-cap Louisiana, whereas Thekla offered 400 capacity. Not only that, but they’ll be playing the likes of Truck Festival later this year, with an attendance of up to 30,000 people, they can be sure to be arena sell-outs soon enough!

New song ‘Head Underwater’ was next up, the energetic song with a deep meaning behind it really got the crowd pumped up. The band can for sure be proud of the way all attendees there got behind them and lifted the roof off, even within the first few songs. Classics ‘Let On’ and ‘Monday’ came next, both with uplifting guitar tunes and lyrics that make you feel good about just existing. The songs are somehow even better live, reinforcing the statement that they’ll be going right to the top soon enough. 

Say You Wanna’ and ‘Let Me Go’ came shortly after. The latter, a retro sounding song that takes you back to the nineties. Although a mellower song, the crowd still sang back in full voice, and the riffs at the end of the song made for an outstanding finish. A song about a relationship break-down, but still packed so much energy and emotion live. After ‘Bloom’ and ‘Laidback’, came a massive intentional move by the quartet. ‘Rock The Boat’ made its live debut, even more fitting that Thekla is, quite literally a boat, and it’s safe to say they for sure rocked it. 

Do You Want It’ and ‘Waterfall’ came next, the latter being their first single ever released. Nonetheless, it still packed a punch live, and I’m sure the song has gotten much better with age. It’s a definite banger anyways, let alone in a live and intimate setting as Thekla. Those two songs were followed by latest singles ‘Lady Messiah’ and ‘Drifting’, both came just before what would have been the encore. Both songs really packed a punch live, especially ‘Lady Messiah’ , which was the last single released from their debut album. 

Finally came the encore, both singles from the early eras of the band – ‘Come Around’ and ending with ‘Barcelona Girl’. Although older songs, they were absolutely perfect for an encore, with the packed out Thekla singing in unison through both songs, as well as a mosh pit starting halfway through the former. Frontman Joel even got into the crowd and hung off the balcony during ‘Barcelona Girl’ – a sign of the absolute energy they have but also the level of crowd inclusion they have in their sets. 

Although not an insanely new band, Corella are for sure not one to miss live. This was my first time seeing them, and I’d already love to see them again at some point in the near future. The way they blew the roof off the venue with some iconic riffs and absolute belters, makes them contenders for my personal gig of the year already. If you haven’t seen them live, and want to, or even if you don’t want to – GO – they are utterly brilliant. 


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