The Joiners Arms, Southampton


It’s Thursday night & we’re here for a line-up of mainly Folk acts with a few surprises.

Rock Regeneration’s own George, along with band mates Jasmine and Johnny take to the stage. Willowen have been making quite a name for themselves on the touring circuit these last six months. George strangely seems nervous tonight as he shares idle chit-chat with the audience between songs. They give an accomplished set nevertheless and Johnny is in good voice throughout. ‘Monster’ is their set highlight-the story of a monster in a paddling pool, killed with lemonade which always brings a smile to my face. On last song “Dan’s House” Johnny’s guitar battery dies and they take the brave step of playing in the “pit” area. This is a masterstroke and gives it that “in the round” feel. Johnny’s vocals are now inaudible but the instrumentation is excellent. Buoyed by a good local following they receive good vocal encouragement and take the plaudits.


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In record quick time Aphrodite and The Alphabet take to the stage. More Folk is delivered by this confident 6 piece. Talicza (rhythm guitar/vox) has a great voice and their polished folk goes down well with this crowd. While they have a clutch of influences it’s the Cranberries more mellower tunes that come to mind (to me). Their sound is soft, polished and confident-due in part to the wonderful array of instruments being played. My one criticism would be bassist Jim playing sat down. However, it suits their sound and his delicate picking doesn’t go unnoticed. Anthony (percussion) and Tess (violin/backing vox) are the more animated in the band on “Ships” and “Wandering”, while Julia (flute/piccolo) adds some strong backing vocals. I’m no Folk expert but they deliver simple songs in a confident manner with excellent musicianship. They end on “So New” and leave to generous applause.

Aphrodite and The Alphabet
Aphrodite And The Alphabet 1234

It’s at this point I’m hoping for a band to be a little different to what we’ve had so far. Up step Bath’s Port Erin, a band with 7 years experience and a clutch of great songs. This 3 piece open with a song called “Let It Go” and promptly do just that. Reuben (guitar/vox) reminds me a little of Martin Grech in places and his picking is truly faultless. Cerys (drums) has an unusual hitting style, almost effortless yet retaining a measure of power. Jacob (bass) is the heavyweight element, occasionally starting the wall of sound but it’s the clangy chiming guitar solo’s that stand out in Port Erin’s set. Reuben’s vocals are a mixture of quiet,subtle and clear and are great on set highlight “Smack Bang In The Middle, Sweet”. They plug their LP before ending on the quite excellent “The Big F”.

Port Erin

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Penultimate act tonight is none other than Paul Heaton who sold over 8 million albums with his band The Housemartins, and The Beautiful South. He was surprisingly added on the bill almost last minute as he had a day off from his tour with Squeeze. Paul and his band are previewing material from Paul’s extensive back catalogue and a possible future LP. They open with the rather apt “Welcome To The South”. Paul is in fine voice and it’s wonderful to see an artist this good so up and personal in a small venue. Johnny Wright (bass) beside him is smiling throughout while Johnny Wrong (guitar/vox) is gurning almost the entire set. Paul confidently banters between songs with this enthusiastic crowd, relaying stories from the tour which go down well. “Old Red Eyes Is Back” comes next and we all sing along. Paul’s harmonies are great and its as if he’s never been away. The Housemartins classic “Build” gets an outing tonight before a song about holiday romance in the form of “Costa Del Sombre”. A punter asks for “Happy Hour” but we get “Me And The Farmer” instead which doesn’t disappoint. Just when I think it cant get any better they end with a stunning acapella version of the classic Caravan Of Love, which we all join in on in unison. Even Pete (drums) finds himself front of stage. This song gets the biggest cheer of the night. Paul name checks Mr Joiners himself Pat and gives his full support at keeping this great small venue going in these current tough times before thanking us for coming and the band exit stage right.

Paul Heaton
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And so to the headliners. Moulettes take us back to the Folk this evening but it’s the array of instruments on show that is impressive. They have a sound that is almost indescribable. Caught somewhere between Modern Folk with hints of orchestral, classical and music one would expect to hear from soundtracks of television and film. Faye (cello/vox) complains about the heat but smiles throughout while Ruth (bassoon/autoharp/vox) is the main talker in the band. Rob (percussion) picks up the guitar on some songs while Ted from “Mumford & Sons” impresses on the double bass. The instrumentation on show cannot be criticised but for me it’s all a bit samey. Moulettes look striking onstage and the band have an interesting attire, but for this reviewer they need more than just that. However I am in the minority as they entertain this full house who all seem to be enjoying every minute. I leave just before the end in time for a quick chat with Mr. Heaton who is both humble and friendly. I too then make my own exit after a truly remarkable evening.


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Set Lists
Right For Her
Drowsie Maggie
My Life’s Mine
Dan’s House…

Aphrodite And The Alphabet
Intro/Cruel Moon
Last Dance
If You Asked…..
So New

Port Erin
Let It Go (The Walls)
In My Way
Due Dues
Smack Bang In The Middle,Sweet!
Hold On
The Big F

Paul Heaton
Welcome To The South
Ol’ Red Eyes Is Back
Costa Del Sombre
Me And The Farmer
Caravan Of Love


More Videos from this gig can be found on the Rock Regeneration YouTube Channel.

Band Links

Words By Ross “I’m not sure about this folk music” Ferrone
Pictures and Video by Dave Chinery “This is folk music!” (Chinners)

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