Review: Pop Princes Lawson charm Manchester’s Sound Control – January 20

By Jack Drummond

Earlier this month, guitar-pop four-piece Lawson graced Manchester with their presence amid the screams of teenage girls and the swoons of middle-aged ladies. 

The only men in the room, a collection of sound techies, barmen and merch guys, looked on somewhere between acrimony and ambivalence.

Lawson are a band that know their audience, and know them well. Over the course of the evening, they sing their way into the hearts of every female member of the room with pained expressions and every ounce of solemnity delivered in romantic and angst-ridden lyrics.

But this is not to diminish them as a band. First, getting noticed early last year thanks to a well-produced acoustic cover of Bruno Mars’ Grenade, the chiselled yet equally baby-faced Lawson have not only come from humble beginnings but also hail from across the country.

Lawson are Andy Brown, 24, on vocals and guitar and who originally hails from Liverpool; Joel Peat, 21 from Nottingham on lead guitar; Adam Pitts, also 21 from Brighton on drums and 21-year-old Sheffield bassist Ryan Fletcher.

Like their musical peers such as McFly or Maroon 5, they’re an act that write and sing all their own songs – and they’re accomplished musicians too, holding qualifications from Brighton’s Institute of Modern Music and London’s ACM under their collective musical belts.

“Basically at these [music] colleges, all they tell you is that you’re never gonna make it in your own band,” explains Adam, “That no labels are signing bands anymore and that you need to be a session musician if you’re gonna make any money, or do anything in music nowadays.”

Officially, the band sharpened their song-writing and performing credentials over two years following initial conversations between Adam and Andy via Myspace on possible future session work.

“We met up, discussed the industry and what kind of band we’d like to be, what kind of music we liked and that was it,” says Adam.

Ryan and Joel were recruited from the London music scene shortly after by Andy, so completing the four-piece.

Despite the clamour of girls screaming for them outside, they’re also a band that has reputedly seen less glamorous side of the gigging circuit too.

“Before [The Wanted] tour, we were playing the darkest venues in the country. The toilet tours, driving ourselves round in a van, which we had to jump start after every gig,” explains bassist Ryan.

“So we did that for about two years,” says Joel, “Then after that, we got the chance to do The Wanted tour which were obviously going to be proper massive venues that really we’d only dreamt about playing.

“Then we realised that ‘yeah, 2011’s gonna be a good year’,” Joel adds.

It hard to be too critical of any musical act that are going into the industry with their eyes wide open. Lawson have a clear understanding of where their music lies, what their market is and who they’re appealing to.

Signed to Polydor, the home of legendary boy bands Boyzone and Take That, Lawson are firmly in the tradition of earnest romantic pop which made bands like Take That – currently enjoying a resurgence themselves – so appealing to such a large amount of people. Even hardened musical anoraks who hang around the haute, hip indie record stores of the Northern Quarter would be hard-pressed to deny the positive impact Lawson’s ilk have had on modern music.

After The Wanted tour in spring 2011, the band have gone from strength to strength with supporting slots for Avril Lavigne and Will Young and a trip to LA to record with the Grammy award winning producer John Shanks – the producer behind Bon Jovi, Alanis Morissette along with Take That – to complete a roller-coaster year.

The new year sees the four-piece once again team up with The Wanted for a second UK tour in the spring ahead of their new album due out later in the year.

Fans and anybody else who’s curious can currently download a free copy of their single ‘Red Sky’ from their official website: 

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