Hailing from Leigh and on the southern most point of the ‘World Tour of the UK’, you could forgive burgeoning indie-pop aficionados The Lottery Winners for any random bout of anxiety.
This a group, after all, that has spent years strapped into the revolving gig circuit of the country’s most diverse music scene in the north west, bringing their often coltish creations to life with typical wry Mancunian wit to the ears of the devotees they perhaps most relate to. But this intoxicating four-piece really are different.
Everything was here on display at Southampton’s The Joiners. Lead vocalist and guitarist Thom Rylance may beguile the audience into believing he’s a semi-professional comic who’s taken a gig with a band, but below the self-deprecating that he exudes, there is a singer that understands the setting his band simmer within.
Favourites ‘Elizabeth’ – a track taken straight from an early Smiths songbook - where the jangling hook makes for a misleading hark of happiness within a track filled with missed opportunities and forlorn romance. There is also ’Young Love’ – an instant XFM darling of a track - which provides a backbone for the calamitous humour created by the band on stage.
The set was dotted with stories about the group and how it came to be they ended up in Southampton on a cooling Sunday night. Their rendition of ‘There is a Light and It Never Goes Out’ needed no explaining however. It was the finale of a calming moment within the storm. Alone with just his guitar and audience Rylance battered through ‘Something to Leave the House For’ – a raw, honest track which once again proves the real talent lying at the crux of the singer.
Perhaps most exciting from the quartet was new single ‘Beauty Queen’. It’s a straight-up piece of pure pop magic that although tried before, feels refreshingly new. There’s a real urgency below the Viola Beach guitars that decorate the track with an excited brashness last heard within the opening phrases of ‘What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?’.
They tell us a record deal has been signed with a label in LA. Let’s hope so. They deserve their break. It’s about time they were allowed to live up to their name.
Words by Clive Hammond