Joiners, Southampton


It was during February 2018 that one of my favourite bands went on tour as main support to headliners Hell Is For Heroes. That night I realised they were actually the best of the bunch on that tour. Wind forward 15 months and they are only playing in my back yard! I’m thinking maybe these guys have unfinished business? And so after touring their most famous album “Hi Fi Serious” around the UK it was time to celebrate its predecessor. “Monkey Kong” was quite a departure from the Punk leanings of debut “How Ace Are Buildings”, but is no less important. What makes this band so special is their ability to appeal to multiple genres. And so when they announced Southampton Joiners as one of the dates on the tour, tickets were booked early to avoid disappointment.

With a mate bailing last minute I had the luxury of my photographer friend Robert Whetton for company. We, unfortunately, arrive an hour late and miss openers False Heads but are in good time to catch main support act 68. I had a sneak preview via YouTube a week previously and thought yeah; ok, not bad. However, a live show can be deceptive. 68 I’m afraid are devoid of anything that resembles a song. In fact, one punter sums it up by saying “it’s a classic case of style over substance” which I concur with. Ok so let’s focus on the few positives. Michael (drums) bashes his kit with wild yet measured abandon. And while Josh (guitar/vox) may have some hidden musical talent, it’s his yelps and shrieks that I’m afraid turn me off them early. It’s ramshackle in the extreme and the few songs they deliver are nothing short of deafening. Genre-wise I’d pitch them somewhere between Garage and Post/Punk but that’s being kind – there are so many other bands out there plying this style only better. The between-song banter is mildly amusing and the loops and samples are an interesting touch, but without any real songs there’s really nothing to get too excited about. Josh labours the point far too much for me and I head to the bar, returning only to see them receive decent applause.

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At bang on 9.30 pm A take to the stage. It’s all very casual as Jason asks the soundman, “can we start now, we really didn’t wanna stand in the corner all night”? And without any further ado, they begin the show with the rather apt “For Starters”. The sound is great tonight – loud yet clear. The excellent title track comes next as Jason (vox) hits his stride. That familiar swagger and stage presence are in full flow as they up the ante. A brings the tempo down somewhat, inducing the first singalong. “Old Folks” comes next with Jason explaining, “we thought we were being so ironic when we wrote this song”, before asking crowd members their respective ages. One such punter has brought his teenage daughter and gets Jason’s respect upon finding out she likes Stone Temple Pilots. Jason congratulates the chap on his daughters “musical education” and then launches into the song. Another good singalong ensues. “Hopper Jonnus Fang” is their mid-set breather song and drops the tempo right down before “Summer On The Underground” breathes life back into the performance. It may be twenty years since the release of this album but these songs still sound fresh. “Warning” with its slow/fast formula takes things up one more notch as pockets of this crowd start to react a little. In fact, they ad-lib a “Jump” (Van Halen) mash-up mid-song which is pretty popular down the front, before heading back powerfully to their own song.


“If It Ain’t Broke” is the perfect prelude to “I Love Lake Tahoe” as Jason gets comfortable and starts to recount stories of gigs past. Giles (keys) is being deliberately awkward to frustrate his brother but reluctantly joins in. “Tahoe” gets the crowd in full voice once more but “Don’t Be Punks” is omitted from the set as Jason (apparently) canít sing it anymore! Giles takes centre stage on “Down On The Floor” with his keyboard as they ramp it up some more. Another breather is taken during “Jason’s Addiction” but parity is resumed soon after on “Miles Away”. Dougie (McFly) is absent from the line-up on this tour, due to the fact his “main” band sold out the O2 Arena in London in under seven minutes, he apparently has no reason to leave his bed of a morning! He is ably replaced by Tim Hillier Brook (formerly of Architects) who avoids the limelight to the left of the stage. Amazingly Adam (drums) has kept his beanie on the entire set, which matches his “Fucking” T-shirt! And the main set comes to an end with the excellent “Getting Around”. The length of the song keeps us guessing towards the end as the band take the plaudits. To save leaving this small stage only to return, they dispense with the encore frolics and remain for four biggies.

Starting with “Foghorn” they get us back onside early. It’s a popular choice which is followed by loud shouts for “Bad Idea”. Our shouts are ignored as they opt for a rampant “Something’s Going On”. They depart on a high with “Starbucks” coming next before Jason delivers a heartfelt and humble appreciation of our attendance and thanks us all for coming, while suggesting there will be another “Hi Fi Serious Tour” in the future. One can only hope that comes to fruition. And so on the twentieth Anniversary of Monkey Kong they depart us with their biggest hit, the terrific “Nothing”. Jason leaves it all onstage, ably assisted by Mark (guitars) as they thunder to the finish. Heads are nodding and a few more punters find their dancing shoes. And that folks was that. The love for this band has never wavered and I don’t see them hanging their boots up just yet. And with talk of future tours one can only speculate about new releases. But for now we can revel in these songs that made us happy some twenty years ago and again tonight. We may all be “Old Folks” now but there’s plenty more in the tank I’m sure. And looking at the band they just seem to be having so much fun.

Set List
For Starters
Monkey Kong
Old Folks
Hopper Jonnus Fang
Summer on the Underground
Warning/Jump/Warning (Van Halen/A mash-up)
If It Ainít Broke
I Love Lake Tahoe
Down on the Floor
Jason’s Addiction
Miles Away
Getting Around

Something’s Going On


Review by Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures by Rob Whetton