She Drew The Gun


Arms flailing, dancing in a world of her own, going up to complete strangers and putting her face inches away from theirs, the woman in front of us is on a mission. Why do I always attract them? Harmless enough, but clearly off her rocker on whatever Saturday night substances have been imbibed, this woman is loving the guitar drenched sounds of The Coral’s support for this tour, She Drew The Gun.

Not enough musicians challenge the world these days, so it’s good to see She Drew The Gun (Louisa Roach), combining her effervescent guitar tunes with some mighty fine lyrics. Recent single ‘Resister’ does that to great effect, and live it’s an absolute beast of a tune. She draws on songs from previous album Memories Of The Future and newbie Revolution Of Mind and now possesses a great little set of absolute guitar and synth-fuelled gems, with Roach’s vocals soaring on ‘Wolf and Bird’, with its gentle twangy guitar riffs and subtle keyboards adding to the delicate mix.

With a jacket that can only be described as Adam Ant meets The Libertines, she resembles a French revolutionary with just guitar and lyrics as weapons. On ‘Poem’, her socially conscious musings really shine as she tells tales of the plight of the homeless, class struggles, a broken system, “no legal aid, no justice, only for the wealthy”. It’s an in-yer-face vocal performance which matches the astutely observed lyrical content as she prowls the stage. Feisty guitars power the amazing ‘No Hole In my Head’, with thunderous drums complementing the almighty sound, as the song takes off into a hyperspace freak out.

As Roach and her band exit to a well-deserved enthusiastic reception, I’m left thinking, in an ideal world, they’d be huge, but as She Drew The Gun’s lyrics often ponder, the world can be a frustrating place. Here’s hoping they can continue to enthrall with their brand of highly melodic indie-psyched up tunes for many years to come, and yes, the woman in still dancing wildly even after the band have left the stage.

The Coral

It’s hard to believe The Coral have now been around for over twenty years! Kicking off with ‘Sweet Release’ from new album Move Through The Dawn, frontman James Skelly looks like he’s taking a leaf out of Ian McCulloch’s book, with shades worn indoors throughout the whole gig. It’s a great opener to get the assembled Saturday night boozed up Albert Hall audience leaping around.

Psych sounds abound on ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’ from 2016’s album Distance Inbetween, with its menacing yet melodic riffs. The latest songs from Move Through The Dawn – ‘Outside My Window’ and the hugely catchy ‘Reaching Out For A Friend’ – fit in nicely with the firmly established favourites of ‘Jacqueline’ from 2007’s Roots & Echoes, ‘Pass It On’ from 2003‘s Magic and Medicine and ‘1000 Years’ from 2010’s Butterfly House. There’s plenty of crowd sing-a-longs to ‘Bill McCai’; dealing with the frustrations of everyday life, it’s not exactly an uplifting lyrical theme, but with The Coral’s psyched up jangle and well-crafted harmonies it’s one of their best.

They also blast through a cover of The Yardbirds’ ‘Heart & Soul’, which sounds like it could have been a blueprint for some early Coral tunes, with its fuzzed up melodic riffs, and we’re also treated to the full-on extended psych wig out of ‘Goodbye’, with all members channelling their inner Pink Floyd for the free flowing sound medley middle bit.

Ending with the anthemic ‘Dreaming of You’, we all join in with the drunken lady, dancing around like whirling dervishes, arms raised, the whole crowd singing along to every word. James Skelly is often underrated as a frontman, as he possesses one of those vocals which is both a husky gravely growl and yet can also soar and be as expressive as needed when called upon, plus they’re one of those bands who have been around so long, you’re in danger of forgetting just how many amazing tunes they’ve written. On tonight’s evidence they’ve earned their place as one of the UK’s best guitar bands around – a triumphant set of melodic pysch heaven.

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.