Only a few weeks after seeing Hamish Hawk perform in this same venue, I’m back in Glasgow’s St Luke’s, which is fast establishing itself as one of the cities iconic venues. It may well be situated literally a stone’s throw away from the Barrowland ballroom but it certainly doesn’t hide in the shadows.

Tonight I’m here to see Brownbear, one week on from the release of their second album ‘Demons’ I’m eagerly anticipating how the new songs will go down in a live setting.

Support comes from Jamie Coleman who I sadly missed due to the state of public transport! Oh well, the much hyped Jamie Coleman remains on the ‘acts to see’ list.

I did manage to catch Berta Kennedy and wow!!! What a surprise!

She had the perfect idea to my travel problems earlier in the evening with her most recent single ‘Travel At Peak Time’, a former track of the week on BBC Radio Scotland.

Berta’s set was full on R’n’B/Pop with an alt-rock element, similar in style to Billie Eilish. We also got a first listen to a new track called Groovy Itch! Berta was a welcome surprise and definitely one to watch, she’s working on an album this year which will most likely be out in 2024 so keep your eye out for her.

After a fabulous set from Berta the crowd were ready for Brownbear!

Entering the stage to a rousing reception with Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ ringing out the band went straight into debut single ‘Dead Or Alive’, ‘Covers’ and ‘Only For You’ followed and it was fair to say the audience was well and truly warmed up.

We then got to hear the first songs from the new album with ‘Close Call’ and ‘Let Your Guard Down’, the latter seems even more heartfelt in a live setting, I even had a few tears rolling down my cheeks during it, along with a constant smile!

With a massive grin on his face, which never left his face the entire evening, frontman Matt Hickman declared that they were here to party!

Matt then swapped his guitar for keys, slowed things down a bit for ‘Demons’ and ‘Retro’, during these songs you could see him taking in his surroundings, looking out too an audience shining the torches of their phones back at him in unison, it must feel amazing looking out to that.

As Matt went back to centre stage and before bursting into ‘One More Night’ with his trusty ukelele, he described the bands music as Indie Soul and declared himself The Godfather of it, before urging the crowd to buy the t-shirts with the slogan emblazoned on the front, as well as all the other merch available.

Matt looks so at home in this environment and you can tell that he genuinely cares about his audience, probably in part, due to his background in tour management, he spoke with true passion when he urged us all, “Don’t believe in a system that doesn’t believe in you” he then ripped into ‘Truth Without Consequence’ and ‘Stop The World’ both hinting at the discontent with how the political land lays these days.

Before ‘What Is Home’ he once again thanked us all before letting us know he’d be in The Scotia afterwards if anyone wanted to say hi!

‘All I Want’ came next and last was the Motown enthused ‘Take Your Time’, even with its happy, chirpy melody the fans still managed to fit in the obligatory Glasgow gig chant “Here we! Here we! Here we f*@kin go!” And as the band departed the stage the next chant was”One more tune!”

As ever the band obliged, and Matt returned to the Keyboard for ‘Spin Another Web’ (my personal fav from the new album) it became even more poignant when Matt informed us the keyboard was gifted to them by an old friend who was no longer with us, cue more tears and smiles.

An immaculate rendition of Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ was next which proved beyond any doubt that Matt’s claims earlier about being here to party were absolutely true and the evening is brought to a close with what appears to be a stripped down ‘Wandering Eyes’ before bursting into the full on anthem that it is, and with that Brownbear have conquered St Luke’s with a set full of passion, emotion and infectious smiles!

Next stop, Edinburgh’s The Caves on 12.05.23 and then the plan is Barrowlands next year to celebrate 10 years of Brownbear, roll on 2024!

Review by Martin Morel

Photos by Martin Morel