Friday 30 September 2022

Seb Lowe / Springfield Elementary / The Lanks - Stockport Bask - 29th September 2022

Seb Lowe headed to Stockport's new venue Bask for its first ever full-band show on Thursday night as part of his tour of venues in the south of Greater Manchester. An eleven-song set confirmed the growing belief that he's on his way to much bigger venues in the not too distant future. Support came from Springfield Elementary and The Lanks.

The Lanks open up the evening and build on the positive impression they gave us at their recent show supporting Seb at Pop. Their own songs in the main have a powerful connection and relatability (On My Mind Girl and Take Me Home) or a message behind them (Terrified Of Men) that transcend the guitar / stomp box / vocal restrictions of their set-up as it stands. They provide a contrast to the between song chat which is often irreverent and funny, but sometimes feels like it might stop people taking them as seriously as they should - it's a fine line of course because you don't want artists who say nothing between songs. The strength of their own material is such that the two covers they finish on - There Is A Light Goes Out and Waterfall - feel unnecessary other than to showcase the fact that Josh is a far more accomplished guitarist than you might first think.

Springfield Elementary are loud, angry and direct, so much show that the chatterers earlier in the evening are forced outside to continue their conversations. Never a bad thing. For half an hour we're subjected to a relentless powerful barrage that makes up for what it lacks in subtlety and variety with raw power, particularly from the drummer who seems intent on testing out Bask's system to its limit on its first full band gig and adds extra force to the songs with his backing vocals. Singles On A Cloud, Doctor Doctor and Keep On Moving are standout tracks in a well-received set.

Tonight is the third of Seb's four shows around some of the less frequented musical points of Greater Manchester - Greenfield, Hyde, Stockport and Stalybridge. The crowd here are a little reticent, waiting to be impressed rather than being feet from the stage as at the Hyde and Greenfield shows, but that just proves to be another test for Seb to tick off as impressing stand-offish audiences is one that any emerging artist has to face. By the end of Iphone, the last song of the main part of his set, he's got a group of people right in front of him dancing, immune to the fact that the bright lights mean everyone's watching. 

Seb has an impressive set of songs in his armoury already and a variety to them that ensures he avoids the pitfalls that many have of one great song and then lesser versions on that theme. He has the agitated rants at the state of the world socially and politically - Terms And Conditions and Kill Him He's A Socialist - with clinical and intelligent observations on people and society around him. 

The new unreleased songs - Killer For A Day, which starts with just him at the end of a solo section mid-set before the band join, Generation Suicide and the encore of 21st Century Cavalry Man - show his development as a songwriter from the short sharp Tik Tok snippets that started this off for him.

He may well still be finding the right band to play with - it's changed since we saw him in Hyde a few weeks ago with a new bass player in tow - but that's part of the formative process of these shows and establishing them before the hard work of going round the country building an audience with relentless touring, but we get the feeling it's close to what he needs. He is very much the star of the show though, his four-song solo section mid-set could be picked up and dropped now into any mid-sized venue in the country and he'd hold the room such is the power and intensity of his delivery.

We sense that these shows might end up with the same significance as Blossoms' four nights at the Blue Cat in Heaton Chapel should Seb make the step up into the major league that they did and for which he's clearly being prepped for. He clearly possesses the songwriting craft, the personality and the ability to deliver the whole range of his songs to manage that when his time comes.

Seb Lowe is on FacebookTwitter and Tik Tok. He plays Stalybridge Zeroes tonight (September 30).

Springfield Elementary are on Facebook and Twitter.

The Lanks are on Twitter and Instagram.


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