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The Clockworks on their first headline tour - live review

Smooth running for the fast rising Galway four piece? Julia Mason was on hand to find out.


Who: The Clockworks

Where: King Tuts Glasgow/Brudenell Social Club Leeds

When: October 6/7 2022

Galway band The Clockworks live in Brudenell Social Club Leeds

I love when artists pays attention to the details, for example their walk-on music. Perhaps surprisingly, The Clockworks had Get Down by Nas playing as they came onstage. There were huge welcoming cheers from the crowd. The Galway band had gained local fans from supporting The Reytons at QMU in Glasgow and you could sense the anticipation in the crowd. They opened with Endgame and goodness it was a blast of adrenalin to start. “And that's another thing I baulk as I'm chalking a cue We're post-punk, post-truth, post-Europe, post-youth Post-modern, post-faith and God, and post-post too As music with nothing to say plays on the radio Snooker myself more in tryin' to pull off something bolder If everything's behind us, where's the point in growing older?” The lyrics of lead singer James McGregor are staggering and to open the gig with the above lines seems relevant, personal and honest. This is a previous single and to see the crowd singing shows just how far this band has come. The set was sprinkled with old and new songs which also demonstrates a desire for evolution. Stand out new tracks were Moses and Mayday Mayday and I cannot wait to hear them again.

James McGregor lead singer of The Clockworks

Artists learn their stagecraft through experience and James interacted with the crowd, recognising a tee-shirt, expressing thanks and smiling directly at those who were obviously loving the gig. Inevitably it is the popular songs that draw the most reaction. Current single Advertise Me showcases a band maturing their sound as midtrack the guitar of Seán Connelly and Tom Freeman on bass combine to give a goosebump inducing section. It is Can I Speak to a Manager, Stranded in Stansted and final song Enough Is Never Enough that the crowd really respond to. What a thrill it must be to hear your lyrics being sung back at you.

After the gig the band manned the merch desk, chatting to fans and signing anything as requested including a jacket! All four were happy and relaxed, chatting to everyone and definitely making more fans in Scotland. And so to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds the following night. It’s fascinating to see how different crowds behave in different cities! Here the room filled up from the back and indeed when the support band came on there was a huge space at the front of the stage which must have been a little unnerving. Huddersfield’s The Dots were excellent. Full of swagger but with the music to back it up. They played a couple of cover songs, one from the Arctic Monkeys, and the second I was completely flummoxed by. Asking the band afterwards, it was a Harry Styles track, completely rocked up obviously!

By the time The Clockworks came onstage the crowd had moved to the front. Experience has also somehow given this band a bigger sound. The older songs sounded different, as in better, with more vitality and a soundscape that filled these bigger venues. Again the crowd were singing along, even more so than in Glasgow. A moshpit was in full flow for Stranded in Stansted and this Leeds crowd was lucky enough to hear a track they hadn’t played live before All That You’ve Lost.

There was one slightly slower track in the set, Lost in a Moment, which sees Seán on acoustic guitar, and this shows a confidence to expand their sound. The set was obviously tweaked slightly after Glasgow, again impressive on a debut headline tour. And so to the final song and the chanting of “these fingers were made for pointing” began by those at the front, in anticipation of Enough Is Never Enough. It was all over too fast. The crowd lapping it all up and loving every second. Again the band mingled with fans after the gig, yet more fans made. The Clockworks appear to be loving every moment of this tour - drummer Damian Greaney even wearing a Dictator t-shirt in Glasgow much to the delight of the band who were at the gig! Now living in London, support slots with Pixies in the US and with the aforementioned The Reytons are invaluable in honing the performance. With more new music on the way, the tour continues although London – The Garage (13 October) and Bristol – Rough Trade (14 October) are both sold-out. Then it’s a tour of Ireland and dates in the EU in November and December. Catch them while you can, The Clockworks will not be playing venues this size for much longer. For full tour details please check here: The Clockworks


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