Live Review: Sea Girls – Manchester

Sea Girls

Gorilla, Manchester, 5th March 2019

Words and Photos: Gary Lambert

If any of Popped Music’s North West based writers should not be sent to watch the clean cut indie pop of Sea Girls and APRE, then 100% it is me who should be left at home.

As a direct result of musical tastes, I was expecting to spend the evening at home listening to music which fits my taste. I like music that combines fuzz and grit or thunder and glitter. Sea Girls and APRE definitely have the glitter in their guitars, but there is no dirt or anger in their sound. Unfortunately, circumstances dictated that I had to take one for the team and drive down to Manchester last minute on a Tuesday evening in order to take in the gig. Even now, twenty four hours later I’m shaking my head over the events at Gorilla.

Yes, the music was not something I would choose to stick on my playlist, but there’s no doubt about it, these two bands are going places and are professional, tight, sound great and provide their fans with a set that leaves no room for complaints or t-shirts free from sweat. I loved going to this gig, surprisingly. It caught me out. I was going there with an almost clinical mindset ready for analysis of the gig, but when you see young bands putting in this much effort to connect with the fans in front of them throughout their sets then it drags the misery guts old arses like me out of their prejudices.

There’s no denying that a lot of the audience was quite young, and the room was outlined with chaperones nursing a Coke Zero or a half of lager before the drive home, but it was not just the younger audience members singing along.

APRE are the rawest of the pair, but with songs like ‘Gap Year’ (dedicated to Matt the bassist who was celebrating his birthday – and then to a woman in the crowd who shared a birthday with him) are gorgeous pieces of indie music which people will listen to because they want to have fun. There is a tendency at times within creative worlds to equate fun and pleasure with a lack of talent, but to be able to create music which gives such joy to those who are listening is a talent that the vast majority cannot comprehend let alone dream of being able to do. There is a lot more energy and vigour to the sound of APRE as a live unit rather than on record too. Their releases are a lot more dreamy than when the four-piece is cranking it out on stage. So when you see them live, and you must see them live, prepare yourself for a set which is not for sitting back and absorbing, you’re going to want to get involved.

Being involved is an important part of a Sea Girls gig it seems. From the moment the guys take to the stage, there is no room anywhere for spectators. Every single person in the room is a participant in their gig. You’re going to be expected to sing along, and when they drop ‘All I Want To Hear You Say’ you’re screaming out “if you’re in Manchester will you come to my show”, despite the fact that you’re at their show, in Manchester, so it should be tacky like a hospital DJ playing ‘Friday I’m In Love’, in the middle of Thursday and Saturday.

You get the feeling that Sea Girls are in the middle of giving their career the best possible shot. At times, I did feel that there was a touch too much of a sheen to their set, but what is wrong with a band selling out a gig and giving the best possible entertainment to the people who have turned up to cheer them on? It’s not some kind of conspiracy to trick you into enjoying the night. And you’re not THAT polished if you play the first song without bass whilst your guitar tech tries to fix things; but the fact the band got on with it despite that setback tells you everything you need to know about their confidence and ability as musicians. And whilst everybody laments the lack of showmanship in rock bands as a result of the Remi Malek’s Oscar win, seeing a singer walk through the crowd and finish the night singing halfway up the back wall does make you smile.

If you’re looking for anger, hatred and darkness from your music, I’d never suggest that you take in APRE or Sea Girls. But if you want to dance, sing, sweat and enjoy yourself immensely then you better make sure you take yourself to the stage they’re playing during festival season. Even if you’re a moody music snob, give it a go, you’ll still be enjoying it the next day.

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