Gig Review: Seán McGowan w/ Brand New Friend, Sunflower Lounge 10/02/19

This review was written for Indie Midlands.

The Sunflower Lounge is undoubtedly my favourite venue in Birmingham. This might purely be because of the great memories I have of the place but I have never failed to have a good night there. I’ve discovered some of my now most listened to artists there so I always go filled with excitement.

On this Sunday night it was singer-songwriter Seán McGowan headlining this brilliant venue on his “full band” UK tour.

Supporting him on tour is indie-pop band Brand New Friend who have a lot going for them. The four-piece radiate this brilliant energy which got the crowd warmed up perfectly with the addition of charming humour. The group have packed up their lives back home in Northern Ireland to live in a van touring doing what they love.

Something that I have loved more and more in the past year personally is female vocals; whether they are lead or backing. They add another depth to an already exciting track. So this band were already winning in my eyes and that is before I experienced the full set. Last year, they released their debut album “Seatbelts For Aeroplanes” which since their performance I have listened to in full.

I thoroughly enjoyed tracks “Seatbelts For Aeroplanes” and “Girl” in particular – all of which are bouncy songs – and they finished their slot with a bang by performing their latest single “I Was An Astronaut”. Another belter.

Since 2009, Seán McGowan has been working incredibly hard on his music by balancing the thing he loves with working late nights in bars. He is someone whose music and lyrics make sense because he feels every word. I think people can relate with his lyrics about real life and looking at the faces around the venue I could see how committed people were.

He isn’t just a musician, he is a poet…a punk poet. Only speaking the truth. Amongst the solid punk rock tracks were a sprinkling of softer, more touching tracks – these tracks showing off his vocal capabilities. The set started off strong with heavy drums making the singer from Southampton very much known to the room. My favourite tracks of his were “Off The Rails” and “Cuppa Tea”.

His latest single, “Autopilot”, was a definite highlight of his whole performance. He is not only very funny but also humble; very thankful to every person who made his show. The whole set carried a real energy and if he manages to maintain this throughout the tour then the crowd are in for a treat.

All-in-all I thoroughly enjoyed another successful night at the Sunflower Lounge.



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