REVIEW | Sean McGowan – The Old Hairdressers (03.05.17)

sean mcgowanFor the better part of the last month, Southampton artist Sean McGowan has been touring across the UK, primarily landing shows in unfamiliar territories, and this included a Glasgow gig at The Old Hairdressers courtesy of The Colour Of Vinyl.

A trio of drunks being kicked out certainly made for an compelling start to the night…

Kyle Wood, aka Lovers Turn To Monsters, opened the show and dedicated all his songs to one of the aforementioned drunkees.

The most prominent aspect of Kyle was his knack for sharp writing; in particular, the tune about McDonald’s was brilliant. He also showed a fierce intensity with the snappy New Jersey.

Following that, he gave us a pair of neat tracks on the ukulele – 10pm, Still Hungover and James Earl Jones – before further entertaining us with Scottish Weekend, Not Going Out and Chainsaw.

Being our first time seeing Kyle, he did more than enough to retain our interest and left us pretty satisfied.

Benny Monteux from Edinburgh wasted little time, diving straight in with the very upbeat Greetings From Nowhere City.

The majority of the setlist covered personal subject matters based around Benny’s own life, such as breaking up in Red Doors, being the victim of a stalker in Devil Eyes and his relatable battle against anxiety as covered in Slow The Engines.

He kept the pace going with Find Your Soul and Let’s Be Friends, before offering us a stripped version of Teeth And Claws which was notable for a memorable chorus, plus there was some crowd participation involved; undoubtedly, the highlight of the set.

Wrapping up with Hold Tight, he had demonstrated great harmonies and tonnes of enthusiasm throughout, and it was all in all a performance that was very much worth our time and money.

Despite suffering from dramatic plane and taxi rides over the last day or so, among other plaguing personal events, Sean McGowan was raring to go.

Through the likes of No Show and Apple Core, Sean exhibited real depth and a sheer fervor, with him never appearing phony whatsoever; every single word and action was pure and genuine.

He gave a loving middle finger to his old workplace via £5.25 and thoroughly impressed us with the fantastic Neverland. Emotion shined through in the soft Patchwork and especially with Fill Your Boots. He brought it back up with Never Let Us In, before closing out with a robustly passionate piece titled All The Best.

Sean spent half of his time on stage chatting to and amusing all in the room with a range of life anecdotes. Through these, we were able to get to know him and he proved to be a cool and easy person to latch onto.

He was eternally grateful for everyone that made the effort to come down and see one man who had essentially traveled from one side of the country to the other, with little money to his name on top of that, to do what he does best, and it was exactly just that – his best.

There was absolutely no uncertainty when we say that this is one of the most gripping and gratifying performances we have had the pleasure of witnessing this year, and it is abundantly clear that Sean is destined for bigger things, and after all that he has accomplished both under his musicianship and over his life in general, he deserves everything that is coming to him.


REVIEW | Electric Honey Singles Launch @ Broadcast (02.05.17)


Notable local music label Electric Honey were all set to release brand new singles from two quality acts under their wing that we were familiar with – DopeSickFly and Calum Frame – and to celebrate the occasion, as well as their 25th consecutive year as a group, they played host to the pair at Broadcast with a launch event…

…but before them was a very special guest in the form of rising artist Emma Gillespie, who we only recently became acquainted with. We had seriously enjoyed her Pier Siamese record, so we knew we were in for something awfully good.

The likes of MercuryPour It Out and an upbeat untitled tune had us hooked. In addition, the filling venue were respectfully silent for the teenage angst-fuelled Close To Love, the emotional You’ll Forget had us immersed with beautiful writing, and she finished up with a more or less perfect rendition of Maria McKee’s If Love Is A Red Dress .

She admitted to having concerns over being a bit rusty, as this was her first performance since her jump into motherhood, but you know what, one tiny miscue aside, we thought she was just fine. In fact, she was more than that; she was tremendous.

It comes as no surprise as to why Emma has quite the following preceding her.

We last saw Calum Frame sharing the main stage of the O2 ABC with Little Eye way back in December 2014, so seeing him again proved to be something that was a long time coming.

Sporting the most stylish of attires, he dished out a range of cracking indie-pop numbers such as Lead Me OnOne Generation and upcoming single ‘Till The Record Stops, with each of them featuring bouncy, toe-tapping melodies.

He also displayed the utmost confidence on stage, clearly being in the zone all the way thorough, not to mention his ensemble – which included fellow artist Cara Rose – all worked off Calum pretty well and showcased a fair amount of talent and energy in their own right.

As expected, entertaining stuff from a lad with plenty of potential that is being realised more and more by the day.

We had been thoroughly impressed by DopeSickFly‘s debut album last year, so we were eager to see them live for the first time ever.

After the quickest changeover ever, they teed off nicely with Barriers. After the crowd moved forward per request, they got the place riled up with Playing With Fire and Party, before captivating all with the catchy and evidently popular Hydroplane, which had a mixture of singing, dancing and synchronized la-la-la-ing on the go.

Things got interesting, as the second half turned into total bedlam. Standard practice suggests that we detail the readers on what transpired, but in this case, we will not dare spoil what went down because our words cannot do any justice whatsoever.

Eventually, they capped off with their sensational new track Affirmation Lover, in which after the demands for an encore were deafening. Much to the delight of the audience, they got just that and were sent to a frenzy once again.

Over the course of the set, the duo of Ant and Wendy killed it on the mic; Ant in particular was really charismatic and had a swift flow. On top of that, the riffs were just sweet and the rhythms were unbelievably funky.

We have been going to gigs for a long time now, and we can say without a shadow of the doubt that this was among the most unique experiences we have ever had in a music venue. We suppose there are worse ways to spend a Tuesday night.