Southampton born musician Sean McGowan’s first appearance at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth proved to have a successful response. Inspired by the likes of Billy Bragg, The Pogues and classic punk rock bands such as The Clash, it is easy to assume his music will infuse provocative and political commentaries , which it does, and he executes it skillfully. McGowan contrasts to the bands that will follow his support set, the heavier punk rock of Louise Distras and the hip hop/ punk rock fusion that encompasses main act The King Blues’ music is more in your face than solitary McGowan and his acoustic guitar. None the less, his set appeared equally as engaging to the crowd and generated an enthusiastic reception.
His songs frequently laced with his own personal story telling are prominent in his set which included ‘Come Unstuck ‘, ‘No Show ‘ and ‘Neverland’ . Also in his set is his rap ‘All The Best’ off of his first LP ‘The People’s Music’, that consists of lyrics such as “London’s burning and he’s sat with a beer by the pool” delivering his satirical objection to disenfranchised politicians disregarding the struggles of working people.
McGowan’s performance of ‘Come Unstuck’ provides lyrically emotional content, commenting on having someone’s back even during encountering difficulty, delivered through his exclamation of “I know he’d do the same if the glove was on the other hand”.
It is apparent the musician prioritises lifting spirits and having fun during his set through his deliberately exaggerated vocals, which provoke laughter from the audience, this makes his set all the more enjoyable. As McGowan leads into the start of his new single there is enthusiasm from the audience who begin to sing along, proving his popularity and devoted listeners he has managed to produce.
GIGsoup spoke to the talented songsmith after his supporting set at the Wedgewood rooms…
What band/musician got you into writing your own music?
Probably Billy Bragg. When I first heard Billy Bragg’s accent and voice and it wasn’t completely polished and didn’t sound like everything else id heard at that point in my life, I realised music was accessible. It spoke to me because he wrote songs in the way I talk. On from that it would be The Clash and The Pogues, they’ve been a massive influence. Artists that tell stories.
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What’s your favorite song by The Clash?
‘Stay Free’ is my personal favourite, it lyrically rings quite true to me. I do like ‘Guns of Brixton’ and ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’.
Is Billy Bragg the person you were most happy to have supported?
I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to support a load of my heroes, like Frank Turner, who I love and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly. When I supported Billy Bragg that was the moment where the whole thing came full circle, like holy fucking shit maybe I’m alright at this. Billy Bragg was the pinnacle.
What’s the best thing about touring?
It’s quite nice to just be able to disappear but I think the biggest thing for me is just meeting people. No town or city is ever the same, you never know what you’re gonna’ get when you turn up at a show. I’ve had some of the worst shows of my life in the same place that I’ve had the best shows. You never know what you’re going to get. Although its repetitive, its always kind of new and fresh.
What’s your favourite gig venue?
I’m gonna’ have to answer this in the top three. Joiners in Southampton, its my home. Then Le Pub in Newport, out of all the pubs I’ve played its been the most welcoming and I’ve left with some best friends for life and then third, for a big venue would be the 02 in Bournemouth, I think its fucking wicked. Brighton Dome would be up there also, that’s where I supported Bill.
Sean McGowan’s new single ‘No Show’ is out now