May 21, 2024

The Lottery Winners – Live in Leeds 2023 – “a fantastic night out”

The Lottery Winners – Live at The Brudenell, Leeds 20th April 2023

Two parallel universes:

In one, The Lottery Winners got their first hits five years after forming, hit the college circuit and are now enjoying a revival for thirty year olds reliving their student days.

In the other, after fifteen years of slog, the rewards are just arriving and a rather older audience are selling out venues for you.

The Lottery Winners deserve the first but get the second. It’s a flip of a coin whether you are a Shed Seven or not and it doesn’t go on the quality of your songs. That kind of success isn’t long-lived and who’s to say the former is any better than the latter.

What is sure is that The Lottery Winners are a FANTASTIC night out. This was the third time I’d seen them and the act was hilarious, touching, intimate and huge all at the same time. Lasting well over an hour and a half, a good half must have been Tom Rylance bantering and cracking everyone up. The rest was a growing collection of solid pop songs, recalling the smart simplicity of Pulp or The Beautiful South. Rylance is proud of his songs and bigs them up but the huge take-home of the evening is the pure FUN. Everyone is having fun – Tom larking about, Katie Lloyd cracking up on bass, drummer Joe Singleton’s dry humour and Robert Lally playing along. Katie is particularly a joy, laughing like it’s the first time, and it possibly is.

Opening on the smart stomper, ‘Worry’, a single B-side, the band journey through four albums worth of material from favourites like ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Headlock’ to newer pieces like ‘Money Money’, their Shaun Ryder collaboration. Tom tells a hilarious story about having to write the ‘money, money, money’ chorus down for Shaun. Newer songs like ‘85 Trips’ (sung by Katie) are alternately strong pop stormers or sweet sentiments like this (life is 85 trips round the sun). Now they couldn’t have nicked the title from a Grateful Dead box set, could they? ‘Overthink Everything’ is also heart on sleeve straightforward and affirming, and ‘Letter To Myself’ a letter to his 12 year-old self combines the sentiments and a big catchy chorus. There are a surprising number of potential radio-killers, just waiting for the doors of opportunity to crack open.

The between songs chat is the meat of the evening. Rylance, in an overcoat, says “I’ve p***ed meself so you don’t mind if I keep me coat on”. He goes on to tell us about fifteen years of slog and crappy venues in Leigh, their home town (“play Wonderwall or I’ll f’ing batter you, fat lad”). I saw the band first seven years ago in a living-room sized room and it was nearly as much fun as tonight. Back then they were buzzing because Seymour Stein had just signed them, whereas tonight they’re buzzing because they’ve sold out the Brudenell. “This is all our dreams – if you want something, go out and get it”. Next step is the new album, coming out the same week as Freya Riding’s – cue a skit about her Dad being the voice of Daddy Pig and an acoustic song called ‘F*** Daddy Pig’.

My main memories of the evening is laughing out loud with the rest of the Brudenell as cricketer Jonny Bairstow comes onstage to be Bez, Rylance ends up covered in Rennie dust as he discusses pies, digestion and aging, Rylance paints while Katie sings and raffles the product. He’s a man happy in his skin, playing up to and against expectations and, as he says; “I like showing off and getting clapped out”.

The show ends on an encore of old belter ‘Twenty-one’ and a warm glow of shared fun from the crowd.



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