The Joiners, Southampton


Tonight the legendary Joiners in Southampton have an eclectic four-band line-up that drew me down the wet and windy M27 from my Poole home. It features headliners Airways who have just completed a European jaunt with their tour support Wargasm. They have fortunately made it home across the English Channel just before Brexit takes effect. The Peterborough-based band formed in 2015 and with plenty of great influences from their favourite Indie bands have forged a good following with their exciting live shows.

Opening up the evening’s entertainment are Bournemouth band Cherry Lotus, a four-piece Indie band who has been ruffling a few feathers in their hometown with the release of their first three singles. They kick off with ‘Fake Leather Attitude’ which is a big tune featuring some great creative guitar work from frontmen Joe Grange and Aidan O’Hara. They have brought plenty of fans with them and with the locals already here, there is a great early intimate atmosphere, which the band build on with the solid delivery of some great tunes drawing new fans in.

Cherry Lotus
Cherry Lotus 1234

They only formed last year and are still working on finding their sound and at times lack confidence, which I know should come in time. With music this good they should in the next 18 months have more stage time and this should only improve. Their crowning glory was a brand new song in the form of “Act Natural”, a tune that shows all four band members creative styles at their best. They leave the stage after an impressive 35-minute set and get plenty of positive appreciation from the Southampton crowd.

Next up are Southampton band Valensole who inject some energy to proceedings with a promising start, with their Alt/Rock styling which takes influence from a variety of areas of the Rock music spectrum. With tunes like the imposing “To The Sea” where Ben Palmer (also Frontman with Arid Wave) shows us his considerable skills on his Gibson Explorer guitar, which combines well with Elliott Jones fine Liam Gallaher-style vocals. At one point I had to rub my eyes as bassist Dave Parker looks a dead ringer for Frank Turner, who is known to frequent this place from time to time. “I Try” shows a slightly different side of the band’s sound with some impressive hard-hitting sticks work from drummer Nick Jones. The very fine “Imposter” ends the set in style with a fast-paced guitar onslaught which gets the crowd finally moving. Nick jumps down off the stage to join them in spectacular style, while Elliot shows us he’s no one-trick pony with some almost screamed-style vocals.

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Wargasm is an exciting new band that feature former “Dead” guitarist Sam Matlock who unites with bassist Milkie Way for an explosive collision of ideas to create something quite unique. There is always an air of anticipation for a debut show. The duo, along with drummer Ryan shows no nerves bouncing onstage to opening number “Post Modern Rhapsody”. The song which is their only release to date is a complete assault on your musical senses, the pair combine fast delivered vocals with Metal-style guitars and a serious Punk attitude. Milkie Way looks a little like 80’s star Toyah did in the film Quadrophenia with her bleach blonde short haircut and Sam has had a makeover; looking, even more, every bit a Rock Star he is destined to be.

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They deliver their fresh individual tunes with swagger, style and masses of youthful energy; thrilling the audience with each song played. The set ends with an incredible reworked version of the N.E.R.D. tune “Lapdance”, which features a blast of “Fuel” by Metallica at the end. It’s great when musicians try and reinvent the wheel – you don’t always have to toe the line like others before you, just use what you have learned and create something different. Wargasm has certainly done this here and I’m sure they have an exciting and unpredictable future ahead of them.

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Headliners Airways have played here before and their performance then has certainly helped them gain the near-capacity tonight. As they take to the stage they get a huge welcome from the excited locals. Kicking off with “Alien” their 2018 topical single about immigration, they combine synths with guitars and infectious rhythms that get the crowd on their side from the start. Frontman Jake has quite a dry and sarcastic sense of humour keeping us entertained in-between songs with his banter. The new tune “Out Of Luck” gets an airing as does crowd favourite “Trampoline” with is segued with a blast of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and an unexpected cover of Robbie Williams “Angels”. A song that Jake claims he wrote in 1998 when he was three! the crowd somehow know the lyrics and sing along willingly. “White Noise Boys” is a tune with Mariachi style and is certainly Airways at their creative best, with lots of musical twists and turns.

The band seems to be giving themselves quite a momentum at the moment and 2020 could be a big year for them, where they will surely be offered major supports and festival slots. They leave us with ‘Mate’ and calls for an encore are sadly ignored; but I’m sure they will be back on the South Coast in the near future, possibly in a larger venue.

Starting To Spin
Out of Luck
Lose Yourself (Eminem)
Listen To Your Friends
The End
Angels (Robbie Williams)
White Noise Boys
Blue Gasoline
One Foot
Reckless Tongue

Post Modern Rhapsody
God Of War
Gold Gold Gold
Lapdance/Fuel (N.E.R.D)

Staring at the Sun
To The Sea
I Try
Silly Thoughts

Cherry Lotus
Fake Leather Attitude
See You Smile
Between The Lines
60 Million Postcards
Act Natural








Words, Pictures & Videos by David Chinery (Chinners)

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