The Railway, Winchester

Scarlet Soho

On a cold February evening a new venue (to this reviewer) is the chosen destination for my musical entertainment. The Railway in Winchester is playing host to 3 bands of differing styles. We head up to the unusually named “Barn” and arrive just in time for 1st band “Signals”. Describing themselves as “Math-Pop” they gently open the show. Ellie (vox) is smiling and happy from the outset and becomes more confident with every song. The band have a mish-mash of styles and it’s frankly lost on me. However, they have great talent and I’d be a fool to challenge them on musicianship. Ryan (drums) plays almost effortlessly yet retains power throughout, while Mikey (guitar) is energetic the entire set. Alex (bass) has a style I haven’t witnessed in a long time, covering every inch of his strings. They debut a new song I believe was called “Loads Apart” (apologies if I misheard)! Mikey’s intricasy’s on “Trojan” don’t go unnoticed and Ellie’s “Bjork-esque” tones are a sweet accompaniment. Bjork aside I’m finding it hard to pigeonhole any obvious influences and while Signals aren’t my bag they are (in my opinion) quite unique. I may just be in the minority about them but I wish them well.

Signals 12

Next up with the merest of soundchecks are Eastleigh’s finest Broken Links. Having not seen the band live for some 6 years I wonder how they will fare. Despite some early sound issues with Mark’s vocals they go straight in with some choice cuts from their 2nd LP “Divide/Restore”. Straight away the power is immense-their use of samples to compliment their “newer” sound is simply a revelation. How a 3-piece achieve this level of power is astounding. Gone are the My Vitriol “Indie-leanings” in favour of a darker; broodier, full sound. One has to admire how they have changed their style somewhat, bigger and better.
They open with the excellent “Submission”, which tonight sounds raw and bullish. Phil (drums) is as ever hitting with power while Lewis to his left is unleashing a huge bass sound. “Blood on the Motorway” soon follows-it’s a “dark” subject but they are now hitting their stride. With only 30 mins to make an impression they go for the jugular. The Bounty Hunter sees Phil take centre stage for the first time tonight. However, the finale with all 3 band members hitting separate drums at the end is a sight to behold. The searing, sample-led “Elektric” takes their set to yet another level. Mark now starts to really find his voice and gradually “rabble-rouses” the crowd somewhat. I feel “Therapy Sessions in the Dark” stretches Mark’s vocal but they end on a high with “Within Isolation”. I feel the wall of sound they have now created will stand them in good stead as they progress. Bigger stages I’m sure await Broken Links and I feel it’s just about making that breakthrough. We shall wait and see.

Broken Links
Broken Links 12

And so to the headliners. Scarlet Soho have been around for a while now, honing their Electro/Pop/Rock style with great success. Last time I saw them they were 2nd on at a half empty Joiners Arms-how times change! Tonight they are rewarded with a room full of eager fans, waiting to hear them. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of their LP “In Cold Blood”. However live, it just sounds so much bigger and better. Their stage attire and stagecraft are very professional and James (guitar/vox) is a confident frontman. Scarlet to his right is chief “shapeshifter” and looks immaculate in her sparkly dress. Their keyboard player (whose name escapes me) confidently plays to the crowd while exchanging occasional smiles. They open with “2015” before debuting songs from “In Cold Blood”. “Gigolo” is an early set highlight and where I was expecting a “mild” set of 80’s inspired “Synth/Pop”, we are treated to a more powerful Electro/Pop/Rock set.

Scarlet Soho
Scarlet Soho 12

Mid set Scarlet trades in the bass for keys on “Nausea”, which heralds a more familiar if somewhat “Soft Cell-inspired” sound. I even detect a Kraftwerk edit and a slight nod to The Eurythmics, it’s all in there! “In Cold Blood” gets its first live outing and doesn’t disappoint with its huge sampling. A faultless set comes to an end with James thanking this hometown crowd while encouraging us to stick around for his DJ set! Wild, loud calls for an encore are rewarded with two more songs before they leave us. All in all a great gig and I for one leave with my opinion of Scarlet Soho changed for the better. On this evidence their trajectory should be rising, they are clearly onto something and with few new bands of this genre treading the boards, the world is their oyster!

Set List
Speak Your Mind
What You Need
Solo KO
I Dare
Two Steps From Heartache
Programmed To Perfection
In Cold Blood
When The Lights Go Out
Modern Radio
City Behaviour



Words By Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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