Seán McGowan has a big sound, that’s the best way to describe it. His music could take over any venue of any size and capture any audience. Seán takes influences from pretty much every genre- from punk to pop- with precise, up-beat drums and well-timed bass carrying the music forward.

  This weekend he travelled to Manchester’s Star and Garter, attracting a good-sized crowd. I went to the gig, not to see him, although that was an added bonus, but to see his touring support- Brand New Friend.

Chloe Glover began the night, kicking off with a powerful and emotive set. It was just Chloe and her guitar, but the music had a much bigger effect, including songs like Demons which talked about mental health as Chloe opened up about her experiences. Slightly more light-hearted but equally compelling is Silver Linings, a track that encouraged the growing room to sing along.

By the time Brand New Friendwalked on stage the room had become pretty busy and even though everyone was there to see Seán the room was equally excited to see the support band. The group have a very much pop-punk take on modern indie music. The best way to describe their tracks is energetic, their sound had everyone in the room dancing, head-banging at times, and enjoying the lively music- it was just fun! What made the gig even more enjoyable was the clear chemistry between the group who were loving the performance even more than the audience, dancing together, jamming to the music and immersing themselves in every second of the dynamic set. Their sound was quite nostalgic for me, it took me back to the enthusiastic, high-spirited music I listened to in the mid 2000’s but with a more modern element that brought the music up to a more sophisticated level.

Beginning the set with Mediocre at Best, the group bounced into the set and everyone was hooked. Other tracks included fan favorites, Seatbelts for AeroplanesGirl and one of the groups favorite tracks to perform, Carparks and Turnstiles. The group chatted in between songs, it was a nice way to introduce themselves as an out of town band and bridge the gap between themselves and the audience. They joked about Manchester and the Morrissey Smiths Disco advertised at the venue as well as dedicating songs to Ian Curtis, it was funny and a good way for the Northern-Irish band to feel relatable.

Closing with their recent release I Was an Astronaut, the group ended the gig on a high, leaving lasting memories to the people who watched them.

Liv X


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