In a political landscape that continues to divide and defy, She Drew the Gun set out on their UK tour on Wednesday night looking to provide some kinship for those on the left side of the spectrum feeling slightly abandoned by the lack of political voices in the current scene.

Kicking off a run of dates across the country with a sold-out show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute, Louisa Roach’s much-changed four piece turned five piece showcased songs from their altogether more confident and consistent second album, Revolution of Mind, released in Autumn of last year.

But first it’s the turn of support band Man and the Echo. As an admirer of the band for some time, it’s strangely comforting to see them back on the stage. The two older songs, Operation Margerine and I Don’t Give A Fuck What You Reckon greet me like the smile of an older, wiser and more sophisticated friend I hadn’t seen for a while. The idiosyncrasies that always help to make these old an entertaining spectacle are in full flow with bassist Joe Forshaw’s marching dance and keyboardist Chris Gallagher’s grinning nods into the crowd and generally, it’s great to have them back.

More pertinently though, a handful of new songs are on display, including an appealing track possibly named ‘PR Masterpiece’ about “people enjoying KFC’s tweets more than books and music” plus the highlight of the set, new single Capable Man, executed with ‘apparent joie de vivre’. This band seem to have a penchant for mixing the absurd with the gritty reality of modern Northern life, perfectly summed up by the Capable Man artwork produced by the infamous Coldwar Steve, and this track (much like the other new songs) combines everything that there is to like about this band. It’s catchy, well-written and sits at ease with the kind of audience attracted by She Drew the Gun’s left-leaning politics. The new album is finished and will be released later this year and it’s hard not to look forward to the follow-up to 2016’s eponymous debut based on this showing.

Before long, She Drew the Gun are bursting on stage with the electrifying Resister, the lead single from the new album. It’s a battle cry, a cry to arms and set’s the tone perfectly for a tight set to come. “On council estates reclaiming space, from ethical leaders, and we just need to speak it so we can proceed again” cries Louisa Roach in the set’s opener. As if the lyrics weren’t enough indication that this will be a safe space for militant left, various slogans and phrases in support of making art not war and opening the borders continue to flash across the projected image behind the band throughout the set.

As they begin to work their through the first few songs of the new album, it’s clear there’s more purpose and drive to She Drew the Gun than perhaps was there before. Lyrically, their songs remain strong but the sound is tighter, drawing on Roach’s cited Britpop influences, particularly in Something For The Pain with it’s irresistible chorus. Wolf and Bird provides a more tender moment and is one of the highlights of the set alongside Between the Stars, which is similar in sound to the key single on the first album, Poem. You get the sense from songs like this that Roach’s impassioned spoken word style verses could come straight from a protest speech and juxtaposed with the up-tempo, ripping guitars of Resister and the delicacy of Wolf and Bird it’s a great display of this band’s intriguing range and versatility.

Paradise will be the next single from Revolution of Mind and rightly so. It’s a compelling track and sounds heavier live than on the record but with a chorus that’s almost impossible to not badly sing along to, it’s well-received by the sold out crowd. The new album’s title track is too, it’s whirling, dramatic quality giving it the sense of gathering the troops for the revolution it propagates and Poem is, as expected, another highlight. The unmistakably Scouse anti-establishment snarl that accompanies the lyrics give it a live sheen that feels somehow ever more powerful and it’s one of a few times in the set that the crowd are encouraged enough to join in their distate for those “fucking Union Jack magnets and keyrings”. 

In the current political climate, sometimes it’s easy to feel a little isolated at times, but bands like She Drew The Gun with songs like these resonate for those with similar political leanings and are here to remind us that it’s not the case. Roach and the band sign off on a high with an entertaining, energetic encore comprising of their much-loved covers of The Beloved’s Sweet Harmony and Malvina Reynolds’ No Hole In My Head but at this point the battle has been won. The revolution is coming and Roach and her charges have recruited the majority of those in the room tonight.

Written by: Dean Smith