Act: She Drew the Gun / Man and The Echo
Venue: Mono, Glasgow
Date: 22 February 2019
There’s an orderly but excited queue snaking around the corner from Mono and out of Kings Court, on this mild February night; it’s an unusual sight to see at this chilled out vegan eatery and occasional gig venue! When there is a band on the low, bunting-draped, wooden stage next to the home-brew tanks, it’s usually a cult-concern of arty folks, and a nonchalant crowd of latecomers drift in and stand back from the band! There are always the special exceptions however, Mono has been known to host artists at that exact moment of impact and many gigs, including tonight’s, are moved here from smaller venues when ticket sales go through the roof! A Cat Power show here, back in the early noughties, caused near pandemonium and, most recently for me, London punks, Shopping, headlined a frenzied show of funky dancing here last year. Well, tonight is to be one of those special nights again.
Liverpool and North West England is so hot for new indie music right now, a new golden era, picking up attention about 2016 (when both bands on tonight’s bill released their debut albums) and reaching an ever extending peak of exposure and creativity! Tonight’s supporting band,’Man and The Echo’, have a restless, finger-clicking groove and, in singer Gaz Roberts, a confident vocal chameleon, reminding me throughout the set of Scott Walker, Morrissey, and an 80s’ smooth crooner, who I can’t quite put my finger on, while also having some punky snarl in him too!
A tight unit, they stir instant interest in the crowd with their catchy melodies and nagging lyrics, which are full of gritty angst; barely simmering anger, coated in golden chords. They meld soul, disco and classic pop with an anti-fashion, indie sensibility; they have their own unique way of moving through and commenting on the world. Their strident social commentary may divide some, but I admire it. New song, A Capable Man, has a guitar line as spiky as its lyrics – a comment on the fragile male ego, it’s message witty and pertinent. Man and the Echo have lived up to the hazy memories I have of seeing them in King Tuts a couple of years earlier – danceable but with definite substance and capable of causing sweaty devotion!
I have been fortunate enough to see She Drew The Gun a few times: the tiny stage in the middle of the trees at Kendal Calling and supporting Cabbage and The Coral. Each time they have amazed me with their no holds barred lyrics and clear messages.
However, this gig, in my opinion, showed them evolving and getting bigger and better.
From the blistering start of Resister to the rousing closer, the cover of The Beloved’s Sweet Harmony, the gig is an absolute triumph.
The songs have a power, especially in this particularly small venue. You can’t help be transfixed. Even the quieter and more gentle songs keep you locked in.
In Louisa Roach the band have a ridiculous talent, an empowered woman with a clear ability to write wonderful and topical poetry, and she is surrounded by a fantastic band.
I cannot recommend this band enough, go listen to their music and get to see them. You won’t regret it.
Images: Paul Hudson (pahudson)