She Drew The Gun, winners of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent award in 2016, are currently touring their second album, Revolution of Mind. Coming off the back of a tour supporting The Coral, they've sold out pretty much their whole run and Friday at The Bullingdon was no exception - a sign of big things to come.
The band came out promptly and threw themselves straight into ‘Resister’, the unashamedly political and imperative first single from their 2018 release of the same name. The five-piece play with urgency and meaning, deftly combining cleanly sung vocals and spoken word with punchy riffs. ‘Something For The Pain’, with its infectious opening riff, was the standout track of the set and I found myself listening to it almost on repeat in the days following the gig. In ‘Poem’ and ‘Revolution of Mind’ you can definitely feel the influence of performance poets like Toria Garbutt and, perhaps more obviously, Kate Tempest. The latter song, maybe with the addition of some heavier bass, wouldn’t have been out of place as an extra track on Tempest’s latest album Let Them Eat Chaos (a collaboration between the two would be unbelievably good). Aligning thematically with tracks like ‘Europe is Lost’ and ‘Tunnel Vision’, it possesses the same combination of matter-of-fact tone and indignant anger, plus an overwhelming drive to inspire and enact action, all fuelled by frustration at the current state of the country.
Front-woman Louisa Roach is, put simply, incredibly cool; she exudes confidence without ever seeming cocky. Her levelheadedness and tranquil fury earned her instant respect from the audience, but she also found time to crack jokes and forge a warm atmosphere in the room. At one point, having just launched into an explanation of what the next song was going to be about, Roach interrupted herself to say “well it’s just another three-minute critique of capitalism really”. As funny as this was, it slightly undermined just how good pretty much every song in the set was – if you go and see them live, don’t expect an hour and a bit of the same kind of song on repeat, they’re so much more than a band pedalling an ideology. It's often the case with protest songs, or at least bands who are concerned with politics, that the music takes a back seat and good ideas end up picking up the slack for bad tracks. But this was categorically not the case with She Drew the Gun, whose music and message are as strong as each other. The band produce totally unpretentious alt-rock songs whose content and beat are equally responsible for the nods of agreement from the audience.
You never know what you’re going to get when you head over to The Bullingdon to see a band you haven’t heard of (I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea who She Drew The Gun were before the start of last week) but this time the risk paid off, and since the gig I’ve recommended them to anyone who’ll listen.