Joiners, Southampton

the Primitives

It’s a cold Friday evening in Southampton but we will soon warm up to the sounds of one of Indie’s finest in this most intimate of venues. I don’t know the reason for Joe Cardamone’s absence as support but his shoes have been ably filled at 24 hours notice by one Matt Ablard.

This confident young singer/songwriter has a decent sized crowd to impress early on and impress he does. Showing no sign of nerves he opens with “Flurry of Moment’s” setting his stall out early. Honest and heartfelt with simple harmonies, with more than a hint towards Dave Macpherson (InMe). “Forgive and Forget” stays in the personal realm while “It Drives Me Mad” is of a similar subject. At this point he unveils a Smiths cover and I for one am thankful it’s not This Charming Man. In fact his take on “Still I’ll” is really rather good, opting for a more personal rendition rather than staying too close to the original. Another four songs follow and his confidence just grows. “I’ll Never Change” is heartfelt before he leaves us with “Lakes and Oceans”. In this genre it’s hard to stand out but there is no lack of talent from young Matt and I wish him well.

Matt Ablard
Matt Ablard 12

And so to the headliners. With the Joiners now packed The Primitives take to the stage at bang on 9.30. They open confidently with “Spin-O-Rama” before launching into two biggies. “Stop Killing Me” never dates while “Sick of it All” stays in the powerful. Tracy (lead vox) is resplendent in red and black and energetic in what little space she is afforded. Tonight’s show showcases songs from past and near present. “Lose the Reason” is bouncy while “Petals” is simply pure jangle-pop. “Out of Reach” speeds things up once more and sets us up nicely for early crowd fave “Thru the Flowers”.

Tracy seems to really be enjoying herself tonight; using what little space is afforded her on this tiny stage as she pulls many a shape while bashing the tambourine. “I’ll Stick with You” follows and there’s no let-up. PJ (guitars) is mostly head down in concentration, looking up only occasionally while adding backing vocals. “Raph” is the almost statuesque bassist but no less important to this quartet. Tig (drums) meanwhile has an effortless style behind him, keeping a regular beat. Occasionally he plays standing up for extra power no doubt, his snare most prominent on ‘Run Baby Run’. The occasional and rather predictable shouts of “We Love You Tracy” can be heard once or twice – Tracy nonchalantly smiles and reciprocates.

“Don’t Want Anything to Change” is a mellower moment yet no less important while “Dreamwalk Baby” speeds things up once more. “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz” is introduced as a Rockabilly number while “Nothing Left” is truly the opposite as we are only halfway through! “You Are the Way” sees Tracy in fine voice, accompanying PJ’s chiming chords. “Really Stupid” powers along evoking memories of their harder output and is the perfect prelude to “Crash” two songs later. They end the main set with a brilliant “Way Behind Me” and briefly leave the stage before being coaxed back.

The Primitives
The Primitives 12345

They return with the best cut (IMO) from their covers LP “Panic”. Tracy then thanks this near full room for coming, gives the Joiners a shout on its 50th Birthday and spreads the love for the venue itself. Penultimate track “Spacehead” encourages the final singalongs of the evening before they depart us on “(We’ve) Found a Way (to the Sun)”.

While the Primitives continue to return south we will keep on supporting. The size of tonight’s audience would suggest the love for this band – far larger than their previous two visits. And a quick shout out for the Joiners – keeping the flame burning for original live music 50 years on. In a society where X Factor seems to be king it’s great to see this venue busy for one of Indie’s finest. Pat and his Joiners team deserve huge credit for sticking with this fine establishment through thick and thin – keep it real people and keep it live.

The Primitives
Stop Killing Me
Sick Of It
Lose The Reason
Out of Reach
Thru The Flowers
I’ll Stick With You
Run Baby Run
Don’t Want Anything to Change
Dreamwalk Baby
Buzz Buzz Buzz
Nothing Left
You Are The Way
I’ll Trust The Wind
Really Stupid
Rattle My Cage
Way Behind Me
Panic (Reparata & The Delrons cover)
(We’ve) Found A Way (To The Sun)

Matt Ablard
Flurry of Moments
Forgive and Forget
It Drives Me Mad
Still Ill (Smiths cover)
When the Clock Strikes Midnight
I’ll Never Change
Lakes and Oceans



Pictures & Videos by David Chinery.
Words by Ross A Ferrone.

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