The gig sold out of its 100 capacity a good month or so before the event, which certainly took all the pressure off in the weeks leading up to the night. The soundcheck was a little last minute with one or two amp based teething issues that thankfully didn’t manifest themselves into a problem when the bands played later in the evening.

The crowd waited patiently to come in a few minutes after doors opening and the basement venue filled up quite nicely for Oliver Winder’s short set. Clearly influenced by bands like the Stone Roses and the Courteeners, Oliver is certainly one to keep tabs on and in 'Lullaby of Liverpool' he has a song that screams hit single. Not that the rest of his set was far behind, mind! He even had the strength of character not to be phased by a broken string after about two songs, something that veteran Davey Woodward would remark positively on when his band played next.

By the time Davey Woodward and The Winter Orphans took to the stage the venue was pretty rammed and buoyed by the closeness of the audience the band was on inspired form, approaching each song with a bite and vigour that fitted a treat.

The set was an even mixture of tracks from last year’s wonderful debut album alongside a raft of songs that will form the backbone of the follow up, which hopefully will surface next year. Of the older material, 'Tantalise', which opened the whole set, and 'Caroline' are obvious highlights, though 'Dylan’s Posters'is also a joy. The new tracks are equally impressive, with 'The Mall' and 'Occupy the Same Space' simply stunning.

The set is closed with yet two more new songs – 'Warm Hands, which boasts the genius opening line of "Last night’s kisses are this morning’s misgivings/It’s the only way I know I’m living, and the brooding 'Love And Optimism'. Magic stuff.

For the first time in twenty-five years The Popguns are back on stage in Manchester and are clearly enjoying themselves as they run through a set that spans their entire career. Opening with early B-side 'Because He Wanted To', there is no let up in the breathless quality of their songs to such a degree that it is almost impossible to differentiate between the tracks from their late 80’s heyday and their recent second coming. The point in fact highlighted when current single 'Carrying The Fire” comes effortlessly after debut single 'Landslide'.

Barely putting a foot wrong in either song selection or delivery the audience enjoyment is plain to see with many die-hard fans lapping up every word. Let’s hope it isn’t another twenty-five years before they are back!

Photographs by Marie Hazelwood

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Commenting On: (With Davey Woodward and The Winter Orphans and Oliver Winder), Peer Hat, Manchester, 18/10/2019 - Popguns

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