The Joiners in Southampton has been one of the South Coast premier independent venues for many years, and by bringing the calibre of bands such as Drug Church to the city, it is a staple for touring bands.
From only a short trip down the road, Portsmouth-based Horseflies (3/5) opened proceedings with their blend of punk and indie rock. With riffs which wouldn’t be out of place in a Fucked Up song, it was the energy and passion of vocalist Joe Watson, which seemed to win over a lot of the early punters at the venue.
The band has a real groove to their music, which are layered delicately under Watson’s aggressive vocal styling, bringing about an odd juxtaposition that somehow works. Even the addition of a megaphone during one of the four-pieces songs just added to the character of the band, who are clearly trying to push genre boundaries, and succeeding in doing so.
As the small room began to fill with bodies, dressed all in black Canadian-punks Single Mothers (3/5) stepped out onto the stage. Like a wind-up toy, vocalist Drew Thomson was a ball of energy rushing around the stage and jumping on the spot. It didn’t take long for the Southampton crowd to start forming something that resembled a moshpit, as the four-piece attacked their set at a whirlwind pace.
Playing a range of songs from new records ‘Through a Wall’, ‘Our Pleasures’ and even throwing back to ‘Negative Qualities’, Single Mothers really showcased the extent of their back catalogue. Even though still deeply embedded in the punk world, the quartet seem a lot more polished that maybe they once were, and the result is a performance full of energy where the spectator has to keep their head on a swivel. If there was a negative, it would be at times the vocals did seemed to be lost at a point, but that is truly being picky.
There was an air of anticipation as the packed-out venue waited eagerly for Drug Church (4/5) to take to the stage. Bursting straight into ‘Grubby’, the Joiners was instantly bouncing, and it wasn’t long before there were bodies flying off the stage. Vocalist Patrick Kindlon even challenged the crowd to “go off” and the obliged as the five-piece launched into ‘Banco Popular’, ‘Foam Pit’ and ‘Attending a Cousin’s Birthday Party’ all in quick succession.
During a brief interlude, Kindlon decided to regale the audience with a history of the band Ink & Dagger, much to many peoples bemusement, but such is the charisma which oozes off the vocalist, the Southampton crowd just seemed to go with it. With the introduction of each song, more people decided to brave the stage, and as the night continued there was just a wave of bodies flying from the Joiners stage.
If Kindlon is the puppet master of the band, the rest of the ensemble are the strings, with each opening beat of a new song seemed to bring about a new wave of energy from the crowd. Closing with ‘Weed Pin’, there was a sense of togetherness between band and crowd, as the more the crowd responded the smiles on the bands faces seemed to grow.
Words and photos by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck)