Gig Review: The Lottery Winners at Rock City

Words: Charlotte Gould
Photos: Rae Dowling
Wednesday 22 November 2023
reading time: min, words

Daisy shaped earrings and colourful glasses adorned the many faces flooding Talbot Street, all eagerly waiting for the doors of Rock City to open, letting the thrill of the night ahead ensue...


On entering the usually dimly lit, fog filled dance floor, it was clear that Rock City had transformed, in preparation to host something a little different. The stage still boasted the usual line-up of drum kits, guitars, and microphones, but it was now enveloped in a vibrant garden of daisies, playfully disguising the speakers. This whimsical touch served as a symbol of positivity and a signature sign that indie powerhouse The Lottery Winners were on their way. 

First to enter the flower garden were local indie band The Publics who set the tone with their high energy anthems, igniting the crowd with the first mosh pit of many that were to come, and leaving no person untouched by their music. Skilfully showcasing their range with beloved classic Red Flag Verified and floor filler Was That Kiss Meant for me?, the band also teased a couple of their new tracks, which saw the crowd boom, aligning with the drumbeat, bass and shredded guitar riffs. Seeing the crowd connect with these tunes they had only just heard, it's no wonder this is the second support slot the quintet have had at Rock City in just over a month.


After the trumpet from their final song Karen’s Song tailed off and the lights dimmed, there was just enough time to head to the bar and catch a quick conversation with friends and strangers before local eighties infused indie-pop band Deco appeared on stage, wearing vibrant suits and bearing bright faces. Their good-mood music captivated the crowd, encouraging us to ‘belt up’ and get in the ‘nice car’, where we all sang along to their rendition of Bittersweet Symphony (originally by the Verve), taking us back to our festival-fuelled summers before finishing on jazz banger Rain.

As they say, rain makes the flowers grow, as it seemingly did when The Lottery Winners entered the stage, to showcase their UK Number one album Anxiety Replacement Therapy as well as some classic bangers like Overthink Everything and the poignant melody of 85 trips from their 2021 album Something to Leave the House For. An exploration of grief for oneself, the journey out of mourning, the battle we are all fighting to maintain ourselves, their latest album offers an upbeat and honest take on what it means to be human - an album about the self, others and survival, it is a testament to resilience, love and forgiveness.


Opening with Worry, a poignant and deliberate introduction to the album, this song explores who a person may become when their head is full of worry. Trying to navigate your way through life while your mind is jumping to the direst conclusions takes a toll on the soul. Entering adulthood and witnessing others effortlessly conducting their lives, while you're scrambling about trying to find the pieces you need to be the person that our elders promised us we’d become.

This track echoes the familiar verve and energy of The Lottery Winners but also recreates the imploding pressure that your brain puts upon itself in times of desperation. Each track stands as an individual anthem, but they all work together to reflect a year of frontman Rylance's life.


This was followed up by Sertraline, the pulsating crowd pushing further toward the stage, enthralled by this shared emotion and shared experience. Each ensemble an echo of themselves, a dancefloor filled with strangers united through resilience. This track explores topics of self-doubt, asking questions like 'What is a skill if it cannot be shared, why sing a song if it won’t be heard, why make art if nobody cares?' We live for other people so when there is no one around us why do we continue? When we are lost where do we search? The last place we left of, when did you last see yourself? In a childhood memory? As you rest your head, where does it fall? On the floor of your first home? Who were you then where you used to roam?'

We live our lives in hindsight, wishing we could reverse time in the hope it would change our current situation, but who’s to say if we had enjoyed those days of simplicity, when a summer’s day was full of magic and the biggest stress was completing that week’s homework, that anything would be different now? Letter to Myself is both powerful and emotional, driving the crowd to dance, to cry, to breathe again, as the band remind us that the only way to change your current situation is by facing yourself and doing things differently. Find forgiveness in reflection, thank your parents for doing what they could, realising too that they are still only human, and they were learning, too. Sometimes reflection is the only way we can move forward, and realise that ‘it’s not all plain sailing’ and there will be ‘times you’re in front and times that you’re failing’ - but this is human, and that’s all we can be.


With energy still high, an encore ensued, as arguably the biggest track of the night had not yet had their moment in the spotlight. The crowd were all chanting for it, ‘Burning House, Burning House!' Katie Lloyd, electric bassist for the band, dominates this track, with her uplifting energy and empowering vocals, a complete contrast to the depth of the song, which offers an insight into how some of us act when everything is falling down - the danger of saying you're fine when you're bleeding through your badly wound bandages.

This, of course, saw further mosh pits and shoulder rides, which continued to the very end of the night with explosive track Start Again giving us the permission to let the metaphorical house burn down,  knowing that we can always ‘get up and start again.'


The Lottery Winners are gritty, colourful and raw. Reality is the core of their sentiments, and even though there is no guarantee that our flowers will bloom, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plant them in the first place.

The Lottery Winners performed at Rock City on 18 November 2023


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