26 Sep 2016

A Farewell to John Coffey

A farewell to John Coffey – one of the best punk bands around. 

In between The Maccabees breaking up, Bombay Bicycle Club going on hiatus and Augustines giving up the ghost due to financial troubles, you might have noticed we’ve lost quite a lot of promising, (relatively) young bands this year. That said, you’re probably not aware that Dutch punk band John Coffey are breaking up too. Well, consider this post your chance to rectify that, since they are (or as I should say in a few days, were) absolutely brilliant.

First things first: John Coffey are a punk/post-hardcore five-piece from the city of Utrecht, who have released two full-length albums and one EP in their current formation. Their music is inspired by bands like Refused and strikes a near-perfect balance between loud and aggressive punk and catchy rock. But while their albums have rightly been acclaimed, they are nothing compared to the band’s amazingly energetic live shows. A clip from their show at last year’s Pinkpop Festival which shows singer David Achter de Molen catching a beer and drinking it even went viral across the globe, but that’s child’s play compared to some of the other things that have happened at their shows. Think circle pits effortlessly spanning enormous festival tents and you’re close to getting the picture. 

The band have existed since 2002, but they’ve really only found fame since Achter de Molen and guitarist Christoffer van Teilingen joined the band in 2010. In the six years that followed they’ve demolished basically every venue they’ve played in the Netherlands and a fair few abroad too. According to their final interview, tensions in the band started brewing and they didn’t always feel the same rush of energy while playing live anymore. So while it’s not surprising they’ve decided to call it quits, it’s pretty heartbreaking to see them stopping at their peak. Between the raw, pure, lose-your- shit energy of songs like Broke Neck and Featherless Redheads, the inventiveness of songs like the trumpet-heavy Heart of a Traitor or the heartfelt emotion of a song like No House for Thee, John Coffey always brought something special to the table. 

The band is about to start a series of final shows in their home country, culminating September 30th with a final show at the legendary Paradiso in Amsterdam. Since they are calling it an “indefinite hiatus” there is a chance the band will return, but until that happens this is the end for John Coffey. Do yourself a favour and check out their entire discography. They deserve it and they will be missed.


Words: Reinier van der Zouw