Neverman at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea REVIEW: 'We have a new contender in town'

Neverman, live at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea on August 9, 2019. Picture by Chris Broom
Neverman, live at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea on August 9, 2019. Picture by Chris Broom
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Neverman come with a compelling back story.

Frontman Matt McGowan was starting to make waves as a solo act when he suffered a crushed larynx while trying to break up a fight.

Neverman headlined The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea on August 9, 2019

Neverman headlined The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea on August 9, 2019

Against the odds, he eventually regained his voice and started the band about 18 months ago.

But the best back story in the world would count for naught if they weren’t actually any good.

Fortunately that isn’t a problem.

Playing their biggest headline show to date, the Portsmouth four-piece have packed out The Wedge and there’s a sizeable percentage of the crowd wearing the band’s logo T-shirt.

The music is indie-rock, but they don’t stint on the memorable tunes, and the band is well-drilled. Lead guitarist Craig Arnold prowls stage left while peeling out some fierce licks.

Their second single Icarus – a song written while Matt was unsure if he’d ever sing again, provides an early highpoint.

Some of the songs date back to Matt’s solo days, and it’s clear a hefty chunk of the audience are long-term fans, as they sing along, word-perfect.

The sole encore is the new single Spineless, which may well just be the best thing they’ve done so far. Only released on the day of the gig it is already an obvious crowd favourite.

The band seem genuinely humbled by the fervent response. 

It’s good to see we have a new contender in town.

Support act Hooli are a classic power trio, led by guitarist and vocalist Lee Coneley. They mix their blues rock with some funky basslines, and are not wanting for confidence - they chuck in a creditable cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile.

They’re a great live act – worth checking out for Coneley’s “guitar face” alone.